Black Friday is only one week away. For those of you lucky enough to not work that day, you might decide to take advantage of the multitude of sales taking place across the country. If you’re lucky enough to have never worked in retail before, you might not know how to conduct yourself while shopping for loved ones on this infamous day. Here’s 3 tips on how to shop on Black Friday without becoming That Customer retail employees talk about for years to come.
1. Great deals don’t excuse bad manners
Yes, we know that thing you really want is 75% off. That doesn’t mean you can punch and shove your way to get it. I don’t care if other people are doing it. They shouldn’t act that way and neither should you. While it’s nice to exchange gifts with loved ones during the holidays, the season is more about spending time with those people and being kind to all. Don’t ruin someone else’s day because you just really want to buy something.
2. Don’t be upset that you missed the deals
Stores are given only a certain amount of items to sell. Don’t get me wrong, they’re sent an insanely large number of these items, but no matter what it’s still a set number. There’s no guarantee that an extra shipment can be delivered quickly just because one product is running low. And those specialty gifts that are only available to “the first 100 customers” or whatever other rule corporate comes up with? They’re sent even less of those, and once they’re gone they’re gone.
Some people line up for Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving. There are even some stores that stay open on Thanksgiving just to get those extremely early Black Friday shoppers. If you aren’t one of those people, don’t be surprised that some items have already sold out. Even if you do participate in those extreme practices of Black Friday, there are hundreds of other shoppers there with you. Don’t be surprised that your favorite retail store sold out of the thing you wanted at 3 am, especially those specialty items.
If you think that this scenario is the appropriate time to flip out and storm out of the store, it isn’t. You are allowed one “Bummer,” or “Darn it!” before moving on with your shopping. Yes, it stinks that you put in a lot of effort into trying to get an item that you can’t purchase, but remember what I said about the meaning of this season. You aren’t going to ruin someone’s Christmas by not giving them a specific present, but you will ruin their Christmas by making it seem like an item can replace you being a kind friend.
3. Don’t blame employees
Seriously, don’t do this. You should hardly ever blame retail employees, but especially not on Black Friday. More than 90% of the issues I had with customers while working in retail, during the holiday season and the rest of the year, came from two sources: 1) insanely high expectations (No, I can’t make the designer create this sweater in red just for you. It comes in blue or green and that’s it.) 2) issues with corporate policy.
The people you’re interacting with on Black Friday are powerless to change the rules Corporate has laid out for them. Has the store put a limit on how many of one item people can purchase? Too bad. Did the store run out of nothing except the one thing you wanted? Tough. Corporate has set out specific rules for stores to follow. These can detail everything from how often shipments can happen to strict sales rules to keep items on the shelf for a larger number of shoppers to purchase. Keep this in mind when a store employee tells you that they are unable to give in to your demands.
Black Friday has turned from a major US shopping day to basically a three-ringed circus. Every retail employee has a Black Friday story they can tell you about a Customer From Hell. I know it’s tempting to be a complete jerk in order to snag all the deals this year. And trust me, you will see people doing just that. But you’re better than that. Be a great shopper and enjoy the sales you get if you choose to go out on Black Friday this year. And no matter what you do next week, happy holidays!