Black Friday Week: A Crash Course In Retail Etiquette

Black Friday is days away, and between us, I do not care. This is for many reasons, but a few of my favourites are: a) because the malls morph into the part in The Walking Dead where Rick has to hide in a tank to escape the zombies, and b) because I worked in retail for years and years, and I still re-fold messy display tables, and c) those are my two reasons, but three sounds better than two.

But I know I’m in the minority on this one. I know we all like sales and not everybody wants to wait until Boxing Day (the only day I choose to stand in line for 45 minutes outside a Sephora, thank you) and not everybody wants to buy their shit online and chance it. So fine. Okay. You’re taking Friday off to shop and/or jumping on the early sales, and that is fine and great and listen to me before you go. Below are the rules you must follow to ensure this isn’t the worst Black Friday ever (for you and those around you), and should you break them, you owe me everything you purchase.

Do not touch anyone
This is a very easy rule in theory, but also some people seem to get confused. So here we go: do not touch anyone. Do not touch strangers, do not touch staff. Do not push, shove, say “excuse me” while putting your hands on a stranger’s shoulders. You know that game where the floor is lava? That is what people are now, and for good reason. If a stranger touches me, my head will spin 180-degrees around and I will put a curse on their family and anyone they deem important in their lives. Then, as they stare at me in shock, I will take what they were planning to buy out of their hands and buy it myself. Because that is what you deserve if you touch a stranger, but especially me, someone who hates most people on her best days.

Do not destroy . . . anything
You do not need to destroy anything in a store. You do not need to dismantle displays, you do not need to turn a pile of folded jeans into a sentient being. You do not need to throw things onto the floor. You are an adult, and your instinct should never be to throw things that don’t belong to you on the floor, you freak of nature. One year I worked a Boxing Day shift and my only job for three hours was to ensure one (1) table was kept looking “tidy.” This sounds ridiculous until I tell you that at no point in my shift did it ever look “tidy.” Even when I was like, “Do you need a size?” (“No,” was the lie that always followed. Because you do need a size. You do. That is why my table looked like a Jabba the Hutt made of sweaters.) This is because customers chose to destroy things: the table, the piles on the table, and my spirit. Forever.

Do not yell at employees
It isn’t their fault you couldn’t find that X Box game or t-shirt or the one thing you wanted isn’t there and you thought it would be. It isn’t their fault that something rang up incorrectly and they’re trying to fix it, but your raising blood pressure and voice is making them nervous because of course it would, why wouldn’t it. It’s not like a stranger goes into your workplace and yells at you while you’re filling out the TPS reports or whatever it is you do for a living. Because that would be bananas. And yet, here we are. It is weird to yell at somebody who works in a store. That’s a weird thing to do. So you’re weird (and not in a good way) if you do it.

Remember: you are shopping, and that isn’t important
The thing is, we all go shopping and we love shopping and shopping is great, I love the mall. I LOVE THE MALL. But that isn’t special. You think you’re special that you’re at the mall on Black Friday? Do you think this makes you important? Guys. GUYS. No. You are not special. I am not special. We’re shopping. We’re exchanging money for goods. People have been doing this since the beginning of people. We are not heroes. We are people wearing winter coats we should’ve left in the car because it’s way too hot inside to be wearing them. (Like, hi: we can’t even navigate our own winter wear. What’s wrong with us?) There is nothing heroic about any of this, none of us are martyrs. We want #deals and #deals are great, but as soon as you say “I am going shopping” in a voice previously reserved for the Justice League, you will realize how non-heroic we are and how embarrassing it is that you raised your voice to the salesperson at MAC who couldn’t find Lady Danger fast enough. She didn’t invent lipstick. This isn’t her fault. Go sit in the car and have a word with yourself. It’s Black Friday. Be cool. You get to shop today. The only heroes among us are those putting up with us that day.

Now go forth, and please: listen to what I just told you.


Tags: Anne T. Donahue

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