“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

The holiday shopping season is a dream for the consumers, but what about retail workers?

Julia Maria Rocha, Contributor

Every year, thousands, maybe even millions, of Americans wait in line in the middle of the night to buy stuff for discounted prices. However, the retail workers’ sides of Black Friday and the crazy shopping season are rarely discussed.

As you may  know, Thanksgiving allows us to reflect on our lives and remind us of what we are grateful for, yet 24 hours after feasting with family members, people are stampeding across department stores and risking their physical health. In fact, a person is more likely to die on Black Friday while shopping than getting attacked by a shark, according to the American Marketing Association. So, is it worth it? Is sleeping outside of a mall or department store in a tent worth the discount?  

Retail workers have seen the intensity, frustration, and stress caused by Black Friday and the current shopping season. At first, one wants to believe that Black Friday crowds are not as bad as they are typically portrayed, but that ounce of doubt quickly goes away the second the gates are lifted.

It is a nightmare. Suddenly, there are hundreds of people racing from shelf to shelf, some pushing baby strollers while others are holding the hands of toddlers, adults shoving each other out of the way, people yelling at each other, and retail workers trying their best to control the shoppers around them. Customers become the worst enemy during the last few weeks of the year.

Many people complain about prices, most likely trying to see if they can get a discount, people who freak out because the store didn’t have what they were looking for, people threatening to call corporate to get the workers fired, and that’s just the best of it. People can be ruthless when it comes to being disrespectful to workers and the holiday shopping season is no exception.

Customers won’t hesitate to blame an employee for an item that went out of stock on the busiest day of the year, and they’ll speak down to them as if they were a child or incapable of understanding what they were trying to say.

Many people want to negate the views of retail workers by arguing that they shouldn’t complain about Black Friday and the holiday shopping season since they chose to be retail workers; Black Friday was created by business to attract more customers and increase sales before the end of the fiscal year. In addition, it was forced onto retail workers by the businesses that they so happen to be employed by. Retail workers may also face termination if they don’t work on Black Friday or during the holiday season, unless there is “real” reason as to why they can’t.

Although, the negatives may seem to outweigh the positives, we must remember that consumerism doesn’t define the holiday season. The holiday season may start with Black Friday, but it ends with the unity of families and the joy of being with those we love.