Teens embracing Black Friday from other side of checkout lines: ‘Veteran’ worker revels in rush of shoppers

By: Daphne Becker

At 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2014, I stood at lane five waiting for the doors to open and the crowd of people to burst through. Employees like me were scattered throughout the store, and there is a buzz in the air so electric I swear it could almost shock you. I stared at the door in anticipation.

It was time.

The doors finally opened and the people came running in, and the next four hours went by in a blur of motion.

As a teen that works in retail, Black Friday is something that I am definitely very familiar with. With this being my second year behind the register, it doesn’t feel nearly as overwhelming as it did this time last year.

You hear all these horror stories about how awful Black Friday can be for employees, and I thought that maybe I would go through the same.

Now, I can only speak from my own personal experience, but for me Black Friday isn’t nearly as awful as it is said to be.

For one, Target, where I work, has a wonderful rule that minors can’t work past 9:45. So I realize that I am one of the lucky few where long hours staying up all night doesn’t really apply.

Another thing is that people tend to be a lot more sympathetic to the people working on the busiest shopping day of the year. Black Friday has started earlier and earlier each year, which means that workers have less time with their families on Thanksgiving. With that knowledge, people aren’t nearly as rude and mean as you would at first expect.

But I can’t speak for all people. I’m sure there might have been a few upset guests that went through my line,  and maybe the TV they wanted was sold out or they just had to fight someone for the last “Frozen” on DVD or something I don’t really know, but as soon as they left, I must have brushed it off and took it completely outside of my head because I honestly don’t have any negative memories from last Black Friday.

This year is going to be a little bit different for me, though. I am one of the lucky few that get to spend all of Thanksgiving with my family that night and report for work at six in the morning bright and early to work Guest Services for a nine-hour shift. It is a lot different than what I was doing this time last year, so again I’m in a place where I don’t really know what to expect, but the fear factor of Black Friday doesn’t really exist in me anymore.

If I had anything to ask of you who are shopping this Black Friday, no matter where you choose to shop, it’s that you smile at the employees and show them thanks. Even though we do get paid to be there, we are taking time away from our families, and it makes it a lot easier when we know that what we are giving up is appreciated by the people we are giving our time up for.

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