It may sound strange, but as long as I’ve had a job, I’ve always looked forward to working Black Friday.
My first few years working that special day meant I could go into Bob Evans and put up Christmas decorations. It was a welcome break from hosting or serving tables. I could let my inner interior decorator shine, a talent I was completely unaware of until I was asked to help decorate the store.
For four years, I was the unofficial Bob Evans Christmas decorator. I loved going into work in regular clothes – you can get very dusty when putting things on shelves – and climbing on tables. I loved sitting on the ledge above the coat rack and switching the fake daisies to poinsettias. I always did my best pageant wave atop the small wooden platform when customers passed by.
The only Black Friday I did not want to work occurred in 2006, my first work day after my best friend’s death. I was a wreck, crying most of the night when customers told me they were sorry for my loss. But I was glad I didn’t have to deal directly with tables; instead, I focused my efforts on making the store look good with the minimal decorations I had.
Black Friday 2007 was my first Black Friday in the retail industry. I learned then that working second shift in a restaurant is completely different from working in the morning at a store on Black Friday.
There is no way I could have been prepared for that day. I walked into Bath & Body Works at 7 a.m. to see a line to the first room of the store. Insanity is not a strong enough word for it; there were people everywhere.
It didn’t help that I lost my voice halfway through my shift either. I was getting over a cold, and constantly talking with customers strained my voice to the point that it completely disappeared.
Things were thankfully much calmer this past Friday, when there were times that I actually had nothing to do. I stood there with the Mobile Point of Sale device (a portable scanner that we use to scan items before customers reach the register), waiting for the line to build up so I could use it.
My fourth Black Friday at Bath & Body Works went by slowly and smoothly. I would have preferred the craziness of my first year there, as it makes the day go by so much faster. I could have done without going in at 5:30 a.m. People who go to the mall to shop at 4 a.m. are crazy.