Thanksgiving Day Stress

black friday

I’m expecting the best and the worst. I’m hoping for a beautiful, calming and relaxing holiday weekend with the best people possible. And I’m also expecting the worst, most frustrating and nightmarish weekend, too. Working during the craziest holiday shopping weekend ever reeks the worst stress and anxiety known to man. It makes us tougher souls blush sometimes. Yesterday, I expected a busy/not so busy day. It will start off slow, and towards the evening hours, it will be absolute hell. I was wrong. It slowed down during the evening hours for dinner. (The outlet mall that’s open during Black Friday sees the worst that you will ever know.) I’m off today aka Black Friday, and I’m forever grateful for that in so many ways. If you’ve bravely ventured out on this day to shop, then you are braver than me. Today is the day where I refuse to leave my house let alone go shopping. Black Friday is the worst day to shop. The truth is retailers markup their products so high and discount them, so people think they’re getting a great deal. You’re not. The best times to shop are year round and after the holidays.

Everyone needs nourishment before heading out towards the crowds of Black Friday shopping. I predict by 8pm (which is closing time), people will surround the store like a SWAT team. I’m ready to leave. Only a few people showed up at 8 pm. These people want caffeine for long hours of shopping. I, myself, have seen the craziest chaos known to man on Black Friday weekend. Any atrocious act of violence or stupidity, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen just about everything in sixteen years. You name it, been there.

Us retailers prefer quiet, peaceful weekends with family and I prefer food, beers, and football. Football, food, beers, and more importantly family are the most relaxing things in my life. They also cause the least stress in my life.

But Thanksgiving Day turned out to be less stressful than I pictured. I received so many Happy Birthdays from family, friends, and co-workers. I didn’t expect my co-workers to get me a card let alone say, Happy Birthday Jen. I was shocked. My manager asked how old I was and thought I was around 21. I looked it, but don’t feel it. The day at work surprisingly smooth. I was expecting all kinds of chaos and having to kick people out of the store. It didn’t. Some were a little pushy because of the holidays, and they need their beloved caffeine fix for shopping. Thankfully, we closed early last night and had a few people pounding at the doors, but they took the hint from our signs and the fact that neighboring businesses were closed, too.

I will probably venture out to my store and see how the crew is doing. I can only imagine the chaos that started at 4 am from tired shoppers that need extra caffeine jolts to spend more money. And also relax my co-workers since our company is offering a BOGO event from 3 pm until closing time. Again, I only imagine the absolute chaos. I would’ve preferred to work today instead of my birthday, but my heart doesn’t need the added stress.

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This pretty much sums up Black Friday weekend for me. I’ve witnessed a baker’s dozen, 13 unforgettable years of crazy stress from that day. I’ve come to loathe working this day and weekend forever. I will never go outside or do my holiday shopping during this time ever. I always shop during the year when the best deals are available. Imagine crowds of people at a local Starbucks in a mall that’s already crowded with shoppers. People forming multiple lines instead of one. There’s no patience from anyone, only the staff. People continuously screaming, “Is my drink ready yet?” Like children screaming for a treat at a grocery store. Picture that noise and unruly behavior times a million for hours at a time.  I took my last Black Friday shift at the mall three years ago, and I’m still haunted by it. I just started with Starbucks that year and what I saw was pure hell and stupidity.

During my long shift, I got no breaks including meals and restroom breaks. I was tired and just wanted to serve these people and move on. I was whipping out drink after drink, and most people let their drinks sit there so long only to be stolen by someone else and others saying, “This isn’t my drink.” I said, “Is your name Joe?” Most people don’t have patience and demand everything. They don’t appreciate what retailers around the world endure. Retail is an essential career including waitressing to venture into. It will teach you a lot about patience, dealing with demanding customers and how to treat people the right way. It will also teach you how to run a business and what customer service really is. I think everyone should at least step into the shoes of a retailer. I do. Wherever I go, and it’s busy, I remain patient. I understand the struggle. I know how stressful and how it affects your mental health. When a business is busy, stay calm and picture yourself in their place. Be thankful for them and what they have to endure every day. And be polite to them, too. A job in customer service is hard!

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