Hello all! For all of you who have read and commented on my original story, I have more to tell!
I was working the guest service box on Black Friday, and all was going just fine for the majority of my shift. Things were planned out into such tiny detail that our store was working like a machine. The evening had arrived and most of our customers had come and gone with their precious discounts before noon, so the store was surprisingly calm.
I had about 4 cashiers working at this time, one of them being the cashier who was working with me when the first incident happened - we'll call her D. We were working through a small rush at this time, and I looked up, and who did I happen to see?
It was her.
My heart pounded as I realized that she was next in line and I was just about to send my customer on her way. I froze. I did not want to help this lady. There was no way. So I just went into slow-mo mode and waited for her to be called by someone else. D was the lucky one to call her over, but didn't seem to recognize this woman. I needed her to know.
ME: "D! Hey can you come here for a second? I've got a question about a coupon..." (something plausible and subtle to get her over to my station)
D: [comes over, obliviously smiling] "Yes? What did you need?"
Me: "THAT IS THE LADY WHO HURT ME."
D's smile melted from her face in an instant. She stood and stared at me for a moment and said, "Thank you for telling me that."
Honestly I thought she was about to go and slap the heck out of that woman. I was only slightly right.
D started ringing out the lady's items, and just a few scans in, she looks up and sees the woman with her fist in the air about to throw a punch. Her reflexes kicked in and she put her hand up and caught the woman's fist in it.
D: "What. Are. You. Doing?!"
Lady (L): "Teehee! I'm only joking around!"
D: "Stop. That's not funny and I really don't appreciate that. Don't touch me."
L: "Jeez I was just joking!"
D kept ringing the items then, and finally finished them, and asked for any coupons. The lady gave her the coupon that ended at noon today.
D: Sorry but this coupon expired at noon.
L: "Oh just be a good little girl [D is about the same age as this lady] and put it in there for me."
D: "UHHHH. I am a good PERSON. And I am not going to override this for YOU."
THEN THE LADY LEANS CROSS THE COUNTER, AND TRIES TO LATCH ONTO D'S ARM.
D stepped back and pulled her arms away.
D: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! You need to stay on YOUR side of the counter and DO NOT. TOUCH. ME. Do I need to call a manager to escort you out?"
L: "Noooo? Hehe! Just give it to me!"
D: "Get away from me. Either I'm going to call a manager right this second or you are going to stay away from me and finish your transaction and get out."
The lady looked at her, offended. As if D had just yelled at her for nothing. Luckily the lady paid and scurried out, and I got permission to refuse to serve her and call a manager to deal with her instead.
Here's hoping maybe being scolded will teach her NOT TO TOUCH THE FUCKING EMPLOYEES.
I did not call the police or anything in this incident because I only found out about the lady's behavior towards D after she was long gone. I only knew she was there, and that was it. There was nothing I could do. I didn't call the police in the FIRST incident because I honestly had no idea what we were supposed to do in this situation (I was only 2 months into my first job in retail and no one ever gave me advice on it) and I was just too terrified to think straight. I ran to the office and told the store manager (the highest up in corporate I could've gone at that moment). But she didn't do anything and the lady was already gone.
But now that everyone in my store is well aware of this lady, she will be watched carefully and have the called police in an instant if she is even slightly off.
Black Friday at the Doorbell Cosmetics Boutique dawned early, with the phone ringing as all my helpers called out sick. (Even my mother…geez!) So I was going it alone for the second straight year.
As so often happens, the holiday weirdness “came in threes”…three somewhat related experiences.
Here’s a little background information: there are four farmers’ markets in our area. The one where I have my shop is more of a high-end organic marketplace…a bright, clean upscale environment that carries many of the same products as a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, except that most of the products are produced locally. My next door neighbors are an organic produce stand, and a flower shop specializing in vintage vases and Japanese ikebana flower-arranging techniques. Across the hall is a seller of cage-free, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free chickens and eggs.
The other farmers’ markets are less pristine, to say the least. Let’s call them B, C, and D. Market B is really an indoor flea market. It’s loud, dirty, and most of the sellers are junk peddlers. Markets C and D are more traditional farmer’s markets, in that they have meat, produce, and bakery booths, interspersed with a couple dozen booths selling cheap and/or used items. Both are rundown and have a seedy atmosphere.
Doorbell Cosmetics are available in the other three markets, but none of the shops is a licensed distributor. As it happens, there is a nearby factory which makes Doorbell products, as well as Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, Clinique, and other brands. The factory offers deeply discounted prices on mixed lots from various brands…a 30-pound box of assorted cosmetics for $45. The items are discontinued, returned, damaged, or factory seconds. The buyers usually display them in mixed-product booths at flea markets and swap meets.
My shop is licensed by Doorbell Cosmetics, and I sell only first-quality, brand-new products. My store is clean, airy and comfortable, with white walls and shelving, and pale blue chairs for husbands to sit on while their wives are shopping. I spend a lot of time doing product demonstrations and makeovers, and generally offering the type of customer service that you might find at the beauty counter of a prestige department store like the Big Fancy. Because I have a licensed shop selling exponentially more products than our traditional door-to-door salespeople, I receive deep discounts on our products, which I pass along to my customers. My average price is about 50% less than the catalog price.
And so we begin….
The shop was packed solid as soon as the doors opened. The customers spread out into the various product sections, and I began to go around doing demonstrations and giving product information.
While I was assuring a customer that our products were first-quality and not factory seconds, another woman came up to me red-faced and shook her finger in my face, calling me a “f----- liar”.
She argued that that I couldn’t be selling new products because I sold them for the same price as the resellers in the other farmers’ markets.
I tried to explain my status as a licensed boutique, and offered to show her my invoices showing that the product that I was demonstrating had come from Doorbell Cosmetics exactly three days ago, but she called me a liar again and flew out the door, purposely pulling down a string of Christmas lights as she went.
An hour later, the situation was reversed. A man filled his cart with every bottle of bubble bath in my store, then demanded that I sell it to him for a dollar less per item, because that was the price in Market C.
Him: “You have to sell them to me for the same price as the other store!”
Me: “No, because they are reselling factory rejects, while my store is a licensed boutique…”
Him: “But you HAVE TO sell them for the same price as they do! That's the law!”… followed by profanity and an accusation that I was cheating my customers.
Me: "What I HAVE TO do is to suggest that you go right down to Market C, because they are open today, and they will gladly sell you their old, stale, damaged bubble bath for one lonely dollar less than I sell mine. And by the way, my price is 50% off the retail catalog price, so what more do you want?”
He left the overstuffed cart of bubble bath in the middle of the store and stormed off.
(Here’s the thing… he had so many bottles of bubble bath in his cart that I would have cheerfully given him a bulk-purchase discount if he’d been polite about it.)
Finally, the last of the Three Ghosts of Black Friday arrived, in the person of the owner of the discount cosmetics shop at Market D.
Ever since I opened my shop several years ago, he has been visiting regularly and offering to buy out my business. In fact, he was there on the second day that my shop was open for business, telling me that I was doing it all wrong, and that I was going to lose my shirt, and offering to buy me out at a ridiculously low price (less than 5% of the money that I had invested in the shop) and employ me at minimum wage as a cashier.
At this point, it was mid-afternoon on Black Friday, and my store was so crowded that people were waiting in line for the opportunity to squeeze into the room. I waved to him through my display window with a huge smile, while fanning out a large pile of $20 bills from the till. He shook his head in disgust and left. I heard later (from another vendor who knows him) that he’d heard that my store had been closed for a couple weeks due to my recent illness, and he was hoping that I’d leap at the opportunity to get out of the physically-challenging retail industry.
Not hardly! YoAuntie’s Doorbell Cosmetics Boutique is back, and better than ever!
Wall of Text coming! 'Tis the season, and I'm feeling inspired by all these insane posts about people losing their shit over things they don't need. I worked in retail for five years off and on as a grocery store cashier, so I never really experienced Black Friday - except one year, when I got a temp job at a major toy store on the side. I started my new job two days before this day of reckoning. For some reason, the managers thought it prudent to stick the new girl on the front line when the store opened at 5am. I had barely gotten a chance to get familiar with the store layout, and we had special areas where the really popular/discounted toys were set up the day before, so I pretty much had no idea where anything was.
We didn't get the typical zombies clawing at the windows phenomenon, but people were lined up, and a few even knocked on the doors because it was snowing outside and they really wanted to get in early. I watched with a giant knot in my stomach as my manager unlocked the doors and people nabbed carts and ran inside. I was immediately flooded with shouted questions:
"WHERE ARE THE TICKLE ME ELMOS?!"
"WHERE IS THE HOMOSAPIEN ROBOT I NEED IT FOR MY SON!!"
"I NEED A VIDEOGAME WHERE IS YOUR ELECTRONICS SECTION?!"
I did my best to stutter answers out as people didn't even stop moving for me to answer. I quickly picked up on where Tickle Me Elmos (TMEs from now on) were because everyone wanted one. I could not believe how many people wanted one. I stayed up toward the entrance because I knew if I went into the main sales floor I would get eaten alive, and after the initial rush for the first two hours, people started being a little more polite, though there was still a lot of running and shouting going on. That was when Crazy Beard came in.
CB was a grungy ex-confederate-looking older man with a bandana tied around his head and a big scruffy grey beard all over his face. He marched straight up to me and levelly demanded, "I need a TME."
Me: "Of course sir, if you follow this aisle to the back and make a right, they are in a special display in the middle of the aisle, you can't miss them."
CB: "Are you sure there are any left?"
He waved a hand at me and scurried off. I thought that was the end of it. A minute later, he scurried back, visibly a lot more agitated.
CB: "There were no TMEs!"
Me: "I'm sorry, sir, we did have some this mor--"
CB: "How could you not have any TMEs?! You must have more in the back, I need one!"
I knew we had put out almost everything we had the night before - there was no backstock. I tried to explain this to CB as he started shaking.
CB: "I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW YOU COULDN'T POSSIBLY HAVE ANY MORE TMEs!"
Me: (fishing for anything to get this guy off my back) "I-I'm sorry sir, there's not much I can do. If you had gotten here earlier--" (big mistake)
CB: "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHEN I GET HERE, YOU'RE A FUCKING TOY STORE, HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE TMES?! I DEMAND TO SPEAK TO A MANAGER!"
Those magic words. I was shaking now (I don't handle anger very well) and was relieved to get some help. I ran to a phone a few feet away and called for help over the intercom. CB followed me and lowered his voice to keep grumbling to me about his world-ending problem, but he seemed to calm down a little now that he knew he had gotten up a rung on the ladder. We waited. I knew a manager might be a little longer because they were also amidst the throng of shoppers, so I tried not to panic and made some small talk with CB.
Five minutes passed. I saw CB getting more impatient so I called again over the intercom, trying a joke about how the managers were probably up to their necks with customers. CB wasn't amused, so I just kept standing there, shuffling my feet. I couldn't leave the guy, so I did my best to answer the couple questions that came my way while I was doing nothing. Another five minutes passed.
CB: "What the fuck is taking him so long?"
CB: "You're staying RIGHT HERE until he shows up, I know a cop out when I hear one."
Me: "I'm not trying to abandon you sir, I want to help--"
CB: "You need to get your manager here RIGHT NOW, DO YOU HEAR ME?"
I was on the verge of crying at this point. I picked up the phone for a third time, trembling, trying to take a breath so I didn't start crying over the intercom - when the lead manager Tim finally showed up, out of breath from hurrying up front so quickly. CB immediately looked a lot less threatening compared to Tim, who was 6'3", built like a linebacker with tattoos on his arms and a long, braided black beard. Tim, who had a heart of gold and cared about his employees, asked ME what the problem was, which pissed off CB but he looked scared shitless.
Me: "We're out of TMEs, and he really would like one."
CB: "That's RIGHT. I have a problem with the fact that--"
Tim: "Just a moment, sir. Prettehkitteh, thank you, you can go back to the front."
I scampered away as quickly as possible as Tim started to explain that if we didn't have TMEs, we didn't have TMEs and most important of all, we didn't have TMEs. I watched as CB's anger overcame his cowardice and he raised his voice a little, to be rebutted or cut off each time with Tim's best gentle giant voice. Within two minutes, Tim smiled and pointed out the door. CB yelled one last unintelligible word and stormed out.
Tim came over to me, gave me a big hug, and told me to go take a breather in the back room. The rest of that shift was a piece of cake comparatively, and when I left that day I knew the store layout like the back of my hand.
Black Friday shopping is shifting from hours spent in line to more time online.
Sales at retail stores on Black Friday fell to $10.4 billion this year, down from $11.6 billion in 2014, according to preliminary figures from research firm ShopperTrak.
And sales on Thanksgiving dropped to $1.8 billion from just over $2 billion. The firm compiled data from 1,200 retail chains. The figures don't include e-commerce.
A big reason for the declines is increased online shopping, as Americans hunt down deals on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Another key factor: Many retailers are offering bargains long before Thanksgiving, limiting the impact of Black Friday specials.
Still, most analysts expect this year's holiday sales to show stronger growth than last year's. Americans are starting to see early signs of pay increases, hiring has been solid in the past year, and low gas prices are leaving more money in shoppers' pockets.
Gerri Spencer and her daughter Jasmine Hansen were enthusiastic participants in Black Friday shopping this year. They left Spencer's home at 4 a.m. Friday and were at Cabela's, a hunting and outdoor equipment store, in Kansas City, Kansas, an hour later.
"There was a very long line, a few tents and a lot of lawn chairs," Spencer said. "They posted signs saying you can't have a fire."
Spencer said she spent a little more than normal this year. "I feel the economy has picked up in a few areas, and I felt the pull of the holiday spirit," she said.
Online retailers have been bombarding customers with email discounts for weeks. Online sales jumped 14.3 percent on Friday compared with last year, according to Adobe, which tracked activity on 4,500 retail websites. Email promotions drove 25 percent more sales compared with 2014, the company said.
Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics at consulting firm IHS, predicts that holiday season e-commerce sales will jump 11.7 percent this year to about $95 billion, up from last year's 10.9 percent gain. IHS considers the holiday shopping season to include both November and December.
That's a much larger increase than the 3.5 percent gain Christopher forecasts for total holiday retail sales, including both online and in traditional retail stores. Overall, about $1 in every $7 in holiday shopping sales will occur online this year, IHS predicts.
Retailers have also started offering deep discounts as early as Halloween, even advertising them as "Black Friday" deals, Martin said. Auto dealers have gotten in on the game and are offering "Black Friday" discounts.
"Consumers have shifted and started earlier," Martin added. Americans are doing more of their holiday shopping in November, he said, a decade-long trend, even though December remains the month in which consumers spend the most.
The move toward earlier discounts was intensified this year because many retailers struggled with overstocked warehouses and store shelves heading into the fall, Christopher said. That prompted many to offer deep discounts as early as the beginning of this month.
"The price discounting has been creeping toward Halloween," he said.
Shoppers are even starting to postpone some of their back-to-school purchases until later in the fall, in anticipation of such deals, Christopher said.
The Saturday after black Friday/ Brown Thrusday, we started getting those returns. Now, any normal person knows that those special sales are only for Thursday and Friday (depending on what store started when, etc). So when you return something you get the price you paid, and if you want to exchange it for a different item you have to pay the difference. This should be common sense right? Right?!
So in we get Mr. I-Don't-Know-How-Sales-Work. He wants to return a handful of games (around 5 or 6) that he got for $25, or rather he wants to exchange them. Exchange them for some other games that were on sale during B.F. and some that weren't. He had his receipt, everything was good. Or so we thought.
He was going to get the credit back for the games, the amount he paid (which was $25 for each game). He wanted to exchange them for games that were full price right now. So exchange a $25 Game for a $59.96 game. He didn't understand that he had to pay the difference. He practically said that he either wanted the new games for $25 or get back the full $60 credit for the games he bought.
All so he wouldn't have to pay extra. He kept saying things like:
Mr. Douche: "This game is a $60 value! I want to exchange it for a different game that is $60!"
Mgr: "Yes, now it is $60, but you bought it for $25.. not full price. We can't give you full price back when you didn't pay full price."
Mr. Douche "Then give me these games for $25 then! They were $25 yesterday!"
Mgr: "Because they were on sale yesterday. They are not on sale today. That's how the Black Friday sales work. I can't mark them down."
Mr. Douche "This game is now $60! You're not losing anything!"
And it kept going round and round with like three different managers. This guy, I swear this had to be his first B.F. sale, or was just going to bitch until he got what he wanted.
Toward the end of the whole situation some talking got mixed up and two games were approved for full credit back. They looked my way and told me to do it! Now if you change prices on items for refund and they don't match the amount on the receipt, our Cash Office gets a red flag and if your numbers were used in that transaction.. you can get royally fucked.
Mgr: "What? No! He has his receipt"
Me: "You want me to refund him $60 when he only paid $25?! No. That will come back on me!
Other Mgr: "Yea, she'll get in trouble."
That manager went back and confirmed with his manager and she came by and let the customer have it. She flat out told him that what he was asking for wasn't right, but would only approve an even exchange for two games and if he wanted to return any more they would be the $25 he paid. She did that only because there was miss-communication in between each manager. I still stood my ground and didn't let them do the transaction on my numbers, because we have a problem with managers forgetting they approved things. I really wish they didn't allow it at all and told the guy to take a hike. :c
Now to clarify some things. I could understand exchanging some games after a sale for the exact same one because the one you got was defective. But this guy wanted completely different games. I'm pretty sure some of them weren't even on sale.. but I don't know for sure. /shrug