Behind the counter: mall workers tell all


Riley Hyatt

Junior Chaney Elliot folds flannels during work at Pac Sun on Friday Nov. 20.

Hailey McKinney, Reporter

From fighting over a pair of leggings to pushing people down to get a pair of shoes, Black Friday is not only the busiest shopping day of the year, but one of the most dangerous as well. Senior Sandra Herrera worked at Aeropostale during last year’s holiday season and witnessed a duel between two insistent bargain shoppers.

“The craziest thing I saw was these girls fighting over a pair of leggings and a shirt. Then they came to the cash register and were yelling and fighting with the cashier because the price came out differently than expected.” Herrera said.

This year, both Herrera and junior Chaney Elliott will be working on Black Friday. Elliott is currently employed at PacSun and says every employee is required to work. On Black Friday, each worker is given a “zone,” which is basically the area of the store employees are supposed to focus on selling.

Elliott says both himself and the people he works with are all anticipating a huge turnout of people.

“Last year, the store was filled with so many people that people could barely fit in the store. The lines were so long they wrapped around the cash register multiple times,” Elliott said.

Elliot says Black Friday is the most stressful day to work, not just because of the mass amounts of people, but because managers tend to breath down worker’s necks and watch their employees with hawk eyes. Elliott remembers his manager staring him down as he was talking to the customers, which only added to his stress that night.

Hired as a seasonal worker for the 2014 holiday season, Elliott says one major feat was simply trying to stay calm throughout the chaotic night.

“I didn’t want to say anything wrong or stupid,” Elliott said. “I was working as a seasonal salesperson at the time and I was trying to prove that I could be a good future sales associate.”

Elliott says he believes working on Black Friday can be stressful for other teenagers because they tend to not get enough sleep before their shift. He also says it can be difficult dealing with customers because they tend to get angry after waiting in the long lines.

Herrera says the night was stressful for her because shoppers would pick up folded clothes to look at them and then proceed to throw it back down without folding it.

“They made such a mess,” Herrera said. “On a normal day it takes us about an hour to clean everything up and close the store but on Black Friday it took us about four hours.”

Sophomore Alice Ottolino says that she believes teenagers who work Black Friday may feel additionally stressed due to the now longer hours of shopping time.

“I feel like the purpose of Black Friday is pretty much pointless now,” Ottolino said. “Stores open so early now, I don’t know how teens can work for that long especially after eating so much on Thanksgiving. It has to be beyond stressful.”