Imagine the joy of spending Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones, then to have to be brutally awakened by the sound of your alarm going off before the sun has had time to rise. This is what retail workers experience once a year on Black Friday.
Traditionally, Black Friday is known as a day when everything goes on sale and one can get the best deals on electronics, clothes, toys, shoes, etc. But do the consumers know all the trouble that stores and workers go through to provide these deals and the best costumer service that can be given on such a hectic day?
Many corporate stores start planning for Black Friday at the beginning of the month. Tiffani Carmona, the store manager of the American Eagle in Valencia, explains that “schedules have to be made specifically for that day and I have to assign our sales associates to do certain tasks such as customer service, ringing, fitting rooms, and filling. Not only does that have to be done, but I have to make sure that the whole day runs as smoothly as possible.”
The process for a store manager is never easy, but the same goes for sales associates. Many workers are forced to wake up as early as 2 AM and work from 3AM to 4PM. Others are lucky enough to start working at noon, but aren’t as lucky when their shifts end at midnight or later.
For workers, the day is not about saving money or getting the best deals, it is about getting customers what they need and getting them in and out as fast as possible to attend the next person to walk into the doors of their store.
For openers, this may be the hardest part of the day, especially when stores have lines of people waiting for the doors to open. It’s a difficult task attending every customer when employees are outnumbered. As for ringers, the hardest part is to ring each and every customer in less than 45 seconds no matter how much they are purchasing. Lastly, closers have to deal with restoring the whole store to look good for the next day.
In retail, Black Friday is not a one day event. It is an entire month of planning and an entire weekend of putting those plans into effect. It is possibly the most hectic three days of a workers year. Consumers go in and out, complaining about how long lines are or the lack of products, or praise workers for how great their deals are and how kind they have been.
Either way, employers keep a smile on their face and do the best they can to fulfill the shoppers needs no matter how long they have been working, how early they have had to be there, how tired they are, or how much they wish to go home.