Former Toys R Us employee during the Black Friday insanity. This occurred in the middle of the day, long past the initial rush, and numerous shelves were looking a wee bit bare.
A woman was frantically going through every rack of Thomas The Tank Engine toys, pulling things out, putting them on the ground and repeating on her search.
I offered assistance and immediately she asked for; "Percy, I need Percy!"
I usually worked in R' Zone, which was video games and electronics, so if it wasn't Thomas I had no clue.
She explained he was green and after helping her look and checking out online it appeared we didn't have it. Nobody had it. If you ordered it, it would naturally would take some time.
She looked at me and said "I can't go home without this," and began to break down and cry. I mean the kind that rips up a box of tissues. It's the kind of crying that doesn't even make noise, and gives you catfish mouth. You know...
...that kind of expression.
I stood there awkwardly for about a minute, seriously trying to figure out who threatened the life of her child over a Thomas toy. (Why else would she be crying so hard? Silent hysterics like this were usually beyond standard customer tantrums, and I was a Black Friday veteran. Or at least, I thought I was....)
After struggling for a moment, I decided she was simply exaggerating and said, "We can order it ma'am. They're offering the deal online. It will arrive in about a week."
"No!" she wails, "I told you! I can't go home without this toy! You have to go into The Back and get one for me. YOU HAVE TO!"
Me: "Ma'am, it's Black Friday. Nobody in the county has this toy. Not my store, not the next five nearest stores. You either have to order it online or do without it. I promise if you order it right here, right now, it WILL arrive before Christmas."
"Not good enough!" She's screaming now.
Now let me set this scene... Wonder of wonders, other customers were showing an admirable amount of restraint. While I had been helping her, customers had done nothing but politely ask me to point them in the correct direction of their shopping request. They saw I was looking for, and then looking up, something for someone. Instead of asking to be walked, they just needed to know the quadrant of the store to search. Folks who needed additional help were queued up at a polite distance away. (Freaking Black Friday miracle, I say!)
However, at this lady's scream, I was suddenly in a circle of cleared floor about six feet in diameter. It actually intimidated the crowd into putting a great deal more distance between themselves and the hysterical banshee.
I was silent for a few seconds, then cooly told her, "Those are your only options ma'am. If you want to order online, however, someone else can assist you. These people have been waiting very politely for me to be done, and there's nothing more I can offer you."
And I walked away, nodding to the lady who had been waiting the longest to indicate that I could help her next. The crowd was back in motion once more, and I was able to gesture down random aisles as I passed them, shedding customers to their destinations as we went.
The last I saw of the crazy lady was an expression of stunned, horrified, amazement. The fact that a lowly retail slave had NOT magically whipped out the object of her desire upon command, AND had the audacity to walk away when he couldn't help her further, absolutely boggled her mind.
If she complained, I suspect management simply filed it in the shredder with the other whiny Black Friday complaints, because I never heard about it.