Black Friday workers share 14 of the most outrageous things they’ve seen on the job

These stories are cringe-worthy.

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These stories are cringe-worthy.
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Reuters/Luke MacGregor

  • Black Friday can bring out the worst in some people.
  • Retail workers Business Insider surveyed shared some of their most cringe-worthy stories.

If you ask the people who work in retail, Black Friday is rarely described in the most flattering of ways.

“Black Friday is like hunger games,” one retail worker told Business Insider. “The tributes are released, and everyone thinks they are extra special, so they should be allowed to just open pallets and take whatever they want well before the sale.”

“Being retired now, Black Friday is a nightmare of the past,” a former retail worker told Business Insider. “In my many years in retail, each one seemed to get worse.”

This isn’t to say all Black Friday shoppers are horrible people. As one retail worker told Business Insider, “For the most part, people have always been very nice and patient. They can see it’s busy and I’m doing my best to get everybody taken care of.” They said it’s usually the customers who are never satisfied – “we can spot them a mile away” – that are more likely to make a scene.

In honor of the “wild and hectic” day when everyone is “tired and cranky” – their words – Business Insider asked more than 40 Black Friday workers to share some of the most outrageous things they’ve seen working Black Friday.

Be warned: while these accounts cannot be independently verified, some of them may shatter your faith in humanity.


‘I once saw a fight between strangers because someone changed lines. They did not cut in line, they just got behind the other line. And someone in front of that person — so no way they were being affected — decided to verbally attack this person. The person fought back. Nasty things were said, and both these individuals had kids with them to witness this.’

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Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

‘One year when I had just begun my shift a customer with a broken leg tried to hit me with one of his crutches because I didn’t know where we were keeping a particular item.’

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Mark Wilson/ Getty Images

‘One year I got trapped behind the door when we opened, and I had to wait until the mad rush slowed down so I could climb under the cart rail and escape.’

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Kena Betancur / Stringer / Getty Images

‘I’ve had a woman pour her coffee on the ground because we wouldn’t give her an extra discount. She maintained eye contact while pouring the coffee.’

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Getty Images/Mark Mainz

‘People sometimes fight over items that aren’t even that discounted. Is $5 off really worth a black eye?’

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Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

‘I’ve seen shoppers take merchandise from other customer’s shopping carts.’

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Sandy Huffaker / Stringer / Getty Images

“I had someone follow me into the stock room to see if I was lying about being out of something.”

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

‘An employee once pre-shopped and hid stuff under a counter. I put them back out for sale.’

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John Moore/Getty

‘One of the most cringe-worthy things I saw was when a shopper lifted up their toddler’s garments and changed the crappy diaper on top of the merchandise in the department, leaving the used diaper in the parking lot.’

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Thomson Reuters

‘Some people have untied and unwrapped pajama sets to check them out, and then they want you to go get them one in the same size and pattern from the stockroom that has not been opened.’

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Monica Schipper/Getty Images

‘I had a woman get angry with me for not having a doorbuster in stock almost 10 hours after the doors opened.’

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REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

‘One of the craziest things you see is people driving a two-seat sports car and wanting you to help them load an eight-foot Christmas tree in there.’

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REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

‘There was a man looking at jewelry armoires and two older ladies next to him looking at them, too. They had zeroed in on a certain style and he realized, apparently, that he liked that one the best, too. There was only one left, but the ladies couldn’t lift the box and decided to go find an associate to load it in their cart. As soon as they were gone, he grabbed it and ran to the checkout.’

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Getty Images Europe

‘I once had a lady try to snatch something out of another customer’s hand, but before I could do anything about it, a couple of ladies in line who had been talking to the assaulted customer grabbed it back and chastised her to the point that she ran out of the store cussing about telling management.’

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Carl Court/Getty Images