I worked at the store on the evening of Black Friday. This was my first Black Friday as a retail employee. As a matter of fact, I have never experienced Black Friday as a shopper because I have always refused to shop the day after Thanksgiving.
I didn’t expect the range of emotions I felt when I left work at the hospital and arrived in the parking lot at the store in the evening. The shopping center parking lot was almost full and I had a long walk to my store. I felt a bit annoyed thinking that I would be walking alone for a distance when I left the store at the end of the night.
As I walked through the front doors of the store, I saw crowds of people milling around looking at furniture and decorative accessories. I suddenly felt overwhelmed and began to feel some anxiety. I also felt queasy. I thought of turning around to leave the store because I didn’t think I could handle the work that evening.
I took a deep breath and walked quickly to the Customer Care office at the rear of the store barely speaking to the salespeople who said hello to me as I passed them. Since I was a few minutes early, I dropped my personal items off at the office and wandered out again into the showroom and appeared to be browsing as I stopped to look at accessories and wall art that had a calming effect on me. The showroom manager saw me and asked if I was alright. I told him that I just needed a few minutes to get ready for the evening.
Finally, I returned to the office, logged into my workstation and prepared for phone and face-to-face customers. My co-workers and I were busy for the rest of the evening as customer traffic seemed non-stop. At the end of the evening, I told my manager about my reaction as I came to work that evening and told her that I almost turned around to go home. She didn’t seem to understand my anxiety but we had a good laugh about the experience that evening.
I survived my first Black Friday in retail. Today, I return to work at the store and do it all over again. Somehow, I feel I can handle anything now.