With Black Friday fast approaching, many are getting ready to shop, while others are dreading having to go to work.
Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, is the busiest shopping day of the year and is traditionally the start of Christmas shopping. Retailers open their doors extremely early and draw people in with huge sales.
Connor Falk, a sophomore English major, has worked at Wal- Mart Supercenter in DePere for the last two years on Black Friday and had to be at work by 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
“I worked an extra hour last year because one of our managers started telling us to start working our normal departments once the crowds had cleared out and we were all tired from the sales. We were not pleased with this,” Falk said.
Black Friday shoppers can get crazy over sales and tend to get hurt.
“I question people’s dignity and human nature in general when I see and hear stories of people getting shoved into displays. A co-worker and friend of mine was pushed into a display while cutting off the wrap as the sale started. It really can be disheartening to see people fighting and going crazy just to get a five-dollar coffeemaker, which they very well may not even need,” Falk said.
While working at Wal-Mart, one of Black Friday’s busiest retailers, Falk has seen a lot of crazy things.
“We had a van where we had to slide in two TVs, and when the van’s sliding door opened, we saw their child sitting in the middle part of the van on a little collapsible chair. No seatbelt, no restraint, just a cheap-looking folding chair. The family had taken out their van’s seats to fit all their Black Friday loot,” Falk said.
Michelle McEachen, a junior pre-physician’s assistant majoring in biology, has worked the past three years at Shopko.
“My shift was eight hours the first two years and twelve hours last year. This year, I am working on Black Friday again. I have never gone Black Friday shopping because I am always working,” McEachen said.
Kea Gregorich, a senior majoring in communication with an emphasis in public relations, has also worked on Black Friday at Kohl’s.
“Kohl’s does a wonderful job of keeping everything running smoothly. Last year I worked the register, and I would have to say that for the eight hours I was there, it only felt like one because it was so busy, which was very exciting. I’m hoping this year will be the same,” Gregorich said.
Melanie Damask, a junior accounting major, has never had to work on Black Friday, but she has gone shopping for the past three years in a row.
When Damask first started to go Black Friday shopping, she would get up at 4 a.m., but with stores opening even earlier, she starts around 11 p.m. the night before.
“Usually me and whoever I end up going with will get breakfast at some point during the morning, and we tend to hit the busiest stores first, such as Best Buy,” Damask said.
Damask also tries to plan everything out before she leaves the house so that she won’t forget anything.
“I definitely try to look at the ads if I’m looking for something specific to try to get a game plan so I’m able to get the things I’m hunting for. I plan on going this year with my boyfriend’s mom, so it should be fun because she’s really big into Black Friday,” Damask said.
While Damask is a regular Black Friday shopper, she doesn’t think that stores should have to open so early. Opening before it’s actually Friday ruins the point of Black Friday.
“I hate the fact that stores are opening earlier and earlier for this shopping day. I heard some places are opening as early as 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night. That’s ridiculous! It ruins the excitement of Black Friday shopping,” Damask said.
Falk agrees with this. With stores opening so early, there is barely time to clear the dishes as people dine and dash to get in line for the huge sales.
“While I admire business and trade, I do question the nature of Black Friday. Black Friday is moving quickly into Thanksgiving Day. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for a nice, quiet Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends,” Falk said.
Nikki Schmidt, a junior majoring in Biology, wants nothing to do with Black Friday.
“I’ve never worked during Black Friday, and I’ve never gone shopping on that day either. I’m too scared to. The sales aren’t worth it,” Nikki said.
While Gregorich has gone Black Friday shopping, she agrees that the sales aren’t always worth it.
“The times that I have gone shopping on Black Friday have been fun, but in my opinion overrated. Electronics always have the hottest deals, so if one isn’t going specifically for electronics, then in all honesty, Black Friday is a little pointless,” Gregorich said.
While working on Black Friday can be stressful, most of the students I talked to seemed not to mind it.
“Black Friday is one of my favorite days of the year at Shopko. It is different, unique and fun because the time flies by so fast. It is pretty fun watching people line up at the doors an hour before we open and watching them run around the store looking for what they want,” McEachen said.