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!
As many Americans nosh on Thanksgiving leftovers and wonder how much weight they’ve gained, some Walmart workers will be feeling anything but stuffed on Black Friday. More than 200 workers from at least 15 stores will have spent days fasting—up to 15 days—in protest of low wages, according to labor rights advocate group Our Walmart.
“As hard as Walmart workers work, at the end of the day we can’t afford to feed our families,” Cindy Murray, a Walmart worker in the Washington, D.C., area and founding member of Our Walmart, told TakePart. “We need $15 an hour; it’s not just something we want.”
Murray, who works 32 hours a week, has been an employee of the company for 16 years. More than 1,400 other workers have signed a petition in support of the fast, and some of them are also participating, according to Murray. She has been fasting during the day since Nov. 13, when it began, though she sometimes eats at night. Other workers are participating for a few days at a time, according to what their health allows.
On Black Friday, the fast will culminate in a protest at several Walmart stores. Murray will hand a letter to her manager and ask that it be passed on to the home office, informing it of the fast and reminding the company’s executives why its workers need higher wages.
While trying to recruit other workers to join the fast, Murray recalled speaking to one woman, a single parent, who gave her a funny look when she explained that she just had to fast during the day to participate.
“She told me she already fasted every day,” Murray said. “That’s the only way she could afford to feed her kids. And I know she’s not the only one.”
In February, Walmart announced it would raise its hourly wage to $9 an hour in April and to at least $10 by February 2016. That increase was a win for groups like Our Walmart, and it signified to Murray that the fight for $15 could be won.
While “Fight for $15” has become synonymous with fast-food workers’ movement for higher wages, Murray says the “Fast for $15” is about solidarity between low-wage workers in all industries. In the past, the 59-year-old has protested with workers from McDonald’s and Amazon on her days off.
“It’s not just about Walmart workers. It’s about laborers all over,” Murray said. “This is a time in our country where we all together need to stand up and say we’re standing together.”
This past Black Friday, the so-called "party game for horrible people" Cards Against Humanity had a hilariously bizarre deal: Give them $5 and get absolutely nothing in return.
In a blog post today, Cards Against Humanity's founders revealed that this stunt made the company $71,145, with 11,248 giving $5, and 1,119 people giving more than that. One guy even gave $100.
All for literally nothing.
"This promotion was a huge risk - we had no idea if it would get a positive or negative response, or any response at all," Cards Against Humanity co-creator Max Temkin tells Business Insider.
Temkin also says that while the long-term impact of this sale remains to be seen, traffic to the Cards Against Humanity site has been "very healthy this weekend."
"The best way for me to make sense of that response is that these kinds of pranks are like an improv scene where the public is our scene partner. We create a funny setup, and they make it real," Temkin says.
But wait, there's a punchline here: How Cards Against Humanity used the cash.
"There's been a lot of speculation about how we would spend the money from Black Friday, and we're happy to announce that this time, we kept it all. Here's what we bought," Cards Against Humanity writes in the blog post.
While Cards Against Humanity actually has a history of making big donations to charitable causes, this time, they used the cash more selfishly, splitting it evenly among its 17 employees for about $4,185 each.
It then goes on to break down what employees actually bought with their windfalls.
"It's been really fun seeing everyone react to our employee's shopping list. We go out of our way to hire generous, funny, well-rounded, and diverse people, and they did an amazing job with their holiday spending (which we dropped on them pretty suddenly as the Black Friday promotion started blowing up)," Temkin says.
Lots of Cards Against Humanity employees bought Sony PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Wii U video game consoles. Others put money into savings, bought gifts for others, including a $1000 car, or paid some of their student loans.
But the real highlights include a "custom suit of men's armor" ($1500), two front row tickets to the Chicago Cubs home opener ($1,058), and a 24-karat-gold YVA vibrating massager with "eight pleasure settings" ($3,120).
Finally, and the absolute best part: Despite the gag of Cards Against Humanity keeping the money for themselves, several Cards Against Humanity employees actually gave in the hundreds or thousands to charities and nonprofits including Planned Parenthood, DonorsChoose.org, and the American Refugee Committee.
"We've been doing these kinds of jokes for a few years now, and I think the key thing that we're learning is to trust our gut a little more than we usually do. If something makes us laugh, it will probably resonate with other people as well," Temkin says.