Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Black Friday: Know Your Enemy

I’ve only got a couple more posts about retail life ahead of me, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say a couple words about Black Friday. I didn’t just capitalize that. My spell checker automatically did that for me. It’s a holiday now. It’s a holiday more than Thanksgiving is now. It’s been a long time since stuff replaced stuffing as that which we look forward to the most this time of year.

At Best Buy our schedules were pretty brutal for the two days. We opened up at 6:00 PM Thanksgiving evening and remained open until Friday at 10:00 pm. Most workers worked two shifts of about nineteen of those thirty hours total. I was given the 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM, little break, then back for 3-11. It was pretty goddamn brutal. You spend that much time at a place, any place, but work especially and you are going to get a bit cranky. I took a different approach I showed up angry as hell, mellowed out a bit, then got even angrier, switched to murderous rage, and kinda just rode that feeling out the majority of my time. When you’re angry you have to either go into self examination mode. Go into why you’re where you are and what you need to do to get yourself out of there. OR you can blame of other people for your shitty lot.
Well, Mr. CEO I hope you're ready for a business end of a blog!
If you’re like me you’ll come up with two main focal points for your rage. customers and the bosses. Listen, I’m not a commie (anymore). People need to make money in order to get by. In order to make money you have to trade goods or services. I’m fine with all that, but within there there’s a weird message given. The company says that they’re powerless in this whole effort. But they’re not. It’s their company. People will shop when you tell them to, because people are fucking dumb. If you tell someone a twenty dollar bill is on sale they’ll gladly give you fifty for it.
Three pennies for a dollar!
People lose their minds looking for new ways to give their money away. Idiots started waiting for stores to open to get in and be the firsts to give away money. Stores saw that these mindless idiots were pounding on the doors waiting to get in so they started opening earlier and earlier. Until one day a store is going to be open before it’s even closed and a rift in the space time continuum will open up and swallow us all up.

I'm just glad I spent this time shopping and not with people I loved

The Black Friday customers usually fit into one of three groups. There are the people who have absolutely no idea what the day is all about. They were just in the neighborhood and thought they’d look at some TVs. They’re usually impatient. They never know what’s going on and they usually haven’t bought a piece of technology since FM came around. They don’t seem to realize that there’s a bloodbath going on all around them. We also get a lot of the people who think we’re allies in the whole thing. They always talk about how awful it is that I have to work on a major holiday, but then will still patronize the place and support it with their money. Whenever these jackasses stroll in commenting how all the “other” people are going nuts, I know what they’re trying to do. They want to have it both ways. They want to shop and be a part of the mayhem, but their stupid NPR brains don’t want to think that they’re just as easily manipulated as the rest of these rubes. Then of course we have the animals. These are the people you see on TV. They’ll miss 72 hours worth of work so they can get a TV that’s they could’ve bought a better version of online had they just gone to work. These people yell, they scream, they smell weird, and are awful in just about every way. These people are tough to judge too harshly though, because a lot of them just don’t know any better. You really have to pity someone who waits a day and a half in order to buy the only 60” TV they can afford only to spend four times that on when they’re told that we’re out. Simply put, some people just aren't all that bright. It’s not an inditement of them as people. I’m sure they excel at things I’m no good at. I’m sure they’re great at beating their children on the bus, but shopping smart and behaving like a human being in public are not among them. It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for someone who will buy something just because some idiot put a small red “ON SALE!” tag next to it. That tag doesn’t mean anything in and of itself, it’s just a small plastic tag. I’m the jackass who put them out. I used to have to do it very early in the morning. I very rarely did a good or accurate job at it.
Saw an ambulance and thought I missed a riot. Some idiot just fell down. Idiots. 

When passing blame around it’s hard not to go after the bosses too. The nice thing about putting anger on bosses is that if you work retail chances are every person on earth is your boss. It generally seems that as soon as a new person is hired they would be above me in the pecking order. I used to answer to everyone from the cleaning lady on up. I know all those people aren’t responsible for the work schedule so I’ll just focus my rage on the highest of my bosses. Pretty much anyone who wears a cerulean tie as opposed to a blue shirt is suspect. They say we have to be open because other places are open. And the other places are open because we’re open. But really they’re all open because they know the mob will be there if they tell to be there. The thought is that the customer is always right and places should try to meet the needs of them. That argument, like the customers, is fucking stupid. Customers will come when you tell them to. You don’t have to cater to them. There will always be people willing to shell out money. Just tell them when and where to show up and tell them that they’ll be able to save some money. I had multiple times where people got angry because Best Buy didn’t sell fruit. People are dumb and very rarely do they know how to run a multinational electronics store. You, Mr. CEO do. Albeit in kinda a shitty manner.

I shouldn’t bitch too much because a lot was done for us as employees during the holidays. We were given extra pay when and only when legally mandated PLUS  the company was nice enough to give us access to crisis counseling via telephone! All holiday season they realize that you’re gonna be worked too hard and stressed and there’s no way all of their employees will be able to handle it so they better provide for them this way. They don’t want the kind of employees who should be able to handle working November through January without snapping and they sure as shit don’t want to pump the brakes on the whole shopping thing. They’d prefer just make sure there are grief counselors standing by. They certainly hope that we don’t get to the point where we tie some blue shirts together and hang next to the very tasteful non offensive multi denominational holiday display. However if we do they want to make sure that they’re in no way legally culpable and need something to point to that shows they don't want us to kill ourselves. How many people avail themselves of this program I have no clue. I guess in my 3 plus years there I didn’t see any suicides so I suppose that’s a victory of some sort. Hell, I don’t actually know if there were or were not suicides. I only knew like ten people’s names. Everyone dresses the same so it’s kinda hard to differentiate them. There may have been a rash of suicides all last christmas and everyone was just replaced with someone who was right around the same height.

You're ass better still be here Sunday

Of course the worst person in all of this is the jackass who lets this happen year in and year out. The CEO came in the week before Thanksgiving. I didn’t say shit to him. Hell, I even shaved. I came in at 8:00 and stayed for the next twelve hours because they told me to. I took a brief nap and came back the same day because I was told to. Never ask to know who the jackass is that’s responsible for your shitty lot, for the jackass is thee.

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