Yesterday was my first Black Friday working retail.
Don’t get me wrong. At the ripe age of 25, this is NOT my first retail job. I’ve worked retail plenty in the last few years. But I always had an excuse to not be there to work Thanksgiving week. Namely, I was in school. Since I am old now and don’t have school as an excuse, I was assigned to work on Friday.
At both of my part time jobs.
A 13 hour day does NOT sound ideal. But I’ve actually pulled it off several times in the last few weeks. 5 am stocking shifts for 8 hours followed by dog walking and then a 4 hour shift in the box office. It’s not something I can’t handle. But the thought of Black Friday brought sheer terror into my being. I was dreading it in the days leading up to it.
It’s rare that I get a day off nowadays, jumping around from job to job. I was even working on Thanksgiving to get some family photos done for some family and friends of the family. I get it. Schedules are a mess. But who loves the idea of a 4.5 hour shift at a box office, immediately followed by a 3 pm to close in retail? (On the scariest shopping day of the year?)
My parents have seen the madness. They knew to feel bad for me. My dad packed me a year’s worth of Thanksgiving leftovers and gave me ideas for an array of food options to prepare for it. They knew I wouldn’t have the time or the energy to prepare my own meals for Friday. They are good, supportive, strong people who knew to check in on me and make sure I was up to the challenge. They are wonderful humans.
Friday was interesting, but it wasn’t unmanageable. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the outcome. After an entire day of eating a ton of food and walking funny (leg/arm day was Tuesday at the gym and then I had a 5 am stock shift where I was on a ladder lifting jars on Wednesday, so there was no time to recover from that), I showed up to the box office after digging my car out of layers of ice. I was late, but I was the first one there. I ate cold cinnamon rolls on the floor in the hallway while I waited for my manager to unlock the door.
I got to hang out with my friends Brandis and Lacey in the box office for a few hours. There was a steady stream of people who were coming to purchase tickets for WWE, but it wasn’t too bad. I ended up making a BLT with leftover bacon from brunch the day before. (Thanks Dad!) At 2 pm, we clocked out and I headed for job #2.
When I got there, I had some time to sit around. Unfortunately, I found out I would be at register for the next 7 hours of my life. It’s not that I hate it. I just don’t like standing still. I need to be moving constantly, so the register is a difficult place for me to be.
The crowd was steady, but nothing like I haven’t seen at my job before. We are more of a local treasure, even though we technically belong to a national chain. Plus, a ton of our big deals are happening all weekend. So, for better or worse, yesterday was not horrible. I even worked with a pretty nice crew and got a ton of compliments on my finger tattoo and my pendant necklace! So my morale was up, I got to shop a little bit, got free food from the coney truck, and it was probably the least stressful retail experience I could have had. (The most stressful part was during my half hour dinner break when I spent the entire time face timing my sister so she could get gifts. Dork.) I even had enough energy (and good will) at the end of the night to drive my coworker to his apartment uptown.
It’s the little things.