13 Black Friday Shopping Horror Stories You Won't Believe Are Real
The frenzy and fights of these Black Friday horror stories will have you swearing off the holiday.
All across America, families wake up early every year on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving—or even head out on Thursday night—to catch all the best Black Friday deals. But while there are some great discounts to be found on this retail holiday, it's also a day full of frenzy and fights. Thankfully, shoppers and employees alike turn to Reddit after each Black Friday to share the worst shopping stories they've either seen or experienced—and through these, we get to revel in the absurdity of day. Here are some of the craziest, the scariest, and the most shocking Black Friday shopping horror stories.
The Black Friday that almost caused a man's divorce
It's one thing to want to surprise someone with a much-needed gift via Black Friday shopping deals, but it's another to almost let it ruin your marriage. And yet, that's exactly what happened to one Reddit user when he woke up early on Black Friday and snuck out to score his wife a new laptop.
When the man got to the store and saw the line out the door, he decided to turn around and head home instead of buying the laptop. However, his wife didn't believe him when he told her about his whereabouts. "My wife had woken, found me missing and was pacing the floor when I walked in," he wrote. "I was gone the entire night in her eyes and she wanted an explanation. To her it looked like I was out cheating on her … I had no laptop and only my story above as an explanation."
The time there was a never-ending, non-existent line
Amid the chaos of Black Friday shopping, it's easy for patrons to get confused. It's no surprise, then, that one year, a Reddit user watched in amazement as shoppers created a lengthy line in front of a "cash register" that, in reality, was just a service counter with a computer.
"With nobody to control it, the line to nowhere grew quickly. Fifteen minutes was all it took for the not-line to snake all the way around the department," they wrote. The worst part? When the man who accidentally started the line went in search of a real register, he ended up back in line for the fake one. Oof!
The man who punched someone for trying to steal from a kid
Even pacifists aren't afraid of throwing a few punches on Black Friday. Just ask this Reddit user who admitted that the only punch they've ever thrown was during the retail holiday.
As they waited to buy a hard drive, the shopper watched in shock as a grown man stole an Xbox 360 bundle out of an 11-year-old child's hands. However, instead of being a bystander, they did something about it. "At 19 years old I don't know what came over me but I instantly swung for the dude's head and caught him right in the temple," they recalled. "Everyone froze, including me. [The] guy had dropped the 360 and got up and walked away. I slid it with my foot to the kid and he didn't say anything either."
The customers who decided the storage room was fair game
Black Friday might be chaotic, but that doesn't mean all rules are out the door. Try telling that to deal-hunting shoppers, though. One Reddit user, a former Toys "R" Us employee, even recalled kicking customers out of the storage room, where people were "opening boxes to find what they wanted."
"I found like eight to ten people just taking cases off our bays and opening them, then tossing them aside if they didn't want it. They claimed there was nothing indicating they couldn't come back there," they wrote. "We have two signs on the swinging door saying 'Employees Only' and 'Warning: Only authorized personal beyond this point!'"
The grandmotherly fight for discounted calculators
Have you ever witnessed two older women fighting over calculators? One Reddit user has—and thankfully, they were kind enough to share their hilarious horror story.
"Two sweet, elderly women came in to the store looking for [the calculators]. When I told them there was only one left in the display, [it] was ON," they wrote. "It turned in to a geriatric version of roller derby without the skates."
The guy who thought he was first in line for three nights
One Black Friday when Walmart had a great deal on plasma televisions, a man got in line the Tuesday before—tent and all—thinking he was first. News stations even came and interviewed him as he waited outside ahead of opening day. When the day finally rolled around, there were thousands of people behind him, but when the doors opened at 5 a.m. and he walked in first, all of the plasma TVs were gone. How?
"The Garden Center at the Walmart opened up about 10 seconds before the front doors and those that came the night before scooped up all 15 plasma TVs," one Reddit user explained. "This guy who had been there since Tuesday afternoon was dumbfounded and argued with management but was stonewalled and told there was nothing that can be done."
The lady who maced another woman over some fabric
People are willing to go pretty far to get a good deal on Black Friday—even if what they're doing is illegal. One woman, for instance, resorted to macing another customer when she thought she saw a special pink ribbon fabric she wanted being bought up.
"The woman [with the fabric] very calmly kept trying to reassure [the woman yelling] that she was not taking any of the store stock, and that she makes blankets for dying women with breast cancer," explained a Reddit user who saw the situation go down. "The old lady didn't [care]. She whipped out mace and tackled the woman." Yikes!
The phone operator who couldn't know if an item was in store
On Black Friday, one Reddit user was in change of answering the phones for "a big box store." The problem? Since all the cordless handsets were broken, this employee was relegated to the fitting room counter "where the landline was plugged in."
"The end result of this was that customers would call to see if we had an item in stock, and I would have to tell them that, to be honest, I had no idea," they explained. "As you can imagine, the customers did not like this at all. One of the managers installed new cordless handsets about an hour before my shift ended, but the eight hours prior had been absolute [torture]."
The retail employee who got hurt not once, but twice on their first Black Friday
The chaos of Black Friday can often lead to injuries for retail employees. Just ask this Reddit user who, while working at Walmart during the retail holiday, ended up hurting themselves twice.
"Basically, as I readied box cutter, I got shoved by a customer and I fell right on it and sliced my hand open," they wrote. "After getting through that and patching it up, I came out on the floor and promptly got punched in the face when I picked up a DVD on the ground. A customer apparently wanted it."
The retail employee who had to cut his shift short because of pain medicine
After undergoing shoulder surgery the day before Thanksgiving, one Reddit user explained that they were still required to show up for their Black Friday shift, sling and all. Naturally the pain of the surgery required painkillers—but after taking a few, things got pretty, well, weird.
"Flash forward to around 11 a.m. Customers look like blurs and I find myself drooling a little bit … I then proceed sit on a computer box and tell stories about the adventures of Black Fridays of yore. Customers guarded their children. Nobody bothered me," they wrote. "This went on for a good 10 minutes in real time, which felt like 3 hours to me. The manager in my department walked over to me, grabbed my good arm, and escorted me out of the building."
The woman who gave herself a heart attack over an MP3 player
Liquidation sales and Black Friday are a lethal combo. And as one Reddit user recalled, people will put their life on the line for something as basic as an MP3 player.
"[An elderly woman] hit the ground, hard, and people started to flood the store. A few of them stepped on her," they wrote. "The paramedics determined that between the excitement and throwing herself on the floor, the woman had triggered a heart attack. My boss went to visit her in the hospital later that day, in uniform, and her first words were, 'Oh my God, please don't press charges, I promise I'll pay for it right now.' The MP3 players were sitting on her night stand, next to her bed. It'd apparently taken a sedative to get her to let go of them."
The retail employee who almost got shot over a toy
While working one Black Friday, an employee realized too late that they had pointed a customer in the wrong direction for a Dora toy. And though the retailer eventually hand-delivered the toy and saved the day, the customer was past the point of reason by then.
"She grabbed my arm and leaned in a little too close and [said], 'It's a good thing you came back,' motioning down with her chin to her purse," they recalled. "She pulled out the butt of a pistol just long enough for me to blink and pull away from her [as she was saying] 'because I was coming back to find ya!'"
The man who argued with a cardboard cutout
Black Friday shoppers will yell at anyone—or anything. As one Reddit user noted, when they were working at a store that didn't open until 7 a.m., one of the customers waiting outside started to argue with the cardboard cutouts advertising their deals.
"Finally I realize he's talking to a large purple cutout of a man, and I proceed to go open the doors and try to explain this to him. [He] proceeded to berate the other employees throughout the store over the hour or so he was picking up the cheapest items he could get his hands on," they wrote. "Apparently he needed glasses—badly."