Black Friday Shopping Brings Out The Worst In Us

…no wonder why customer service is so bad – my rant!

We have turned into a group of inconsiderate, rude, thoughtless, disrespectful and egocentric miserable people. The worst traits of one’s personality show when presented with a “great deal” on a TV, toaster oven or pair of sneakers. Surely, Black Friday shopping brings out the worst in us.

Black Friday Shopping Brings Out The Worst In Us

In ever increasing frequency, the news reports covering the past few years’ Black Friday sales have focused on the “great” prices to be had on items me “must” have. These reports are now overshadowed by the lunacy of shoppers from all corners of our great land detailing the fights, scuffles, arguments and mayhem our once-respectful shopping public now partake in.

Black Friday is the only shopping holiday with its very own death count:

10 deaths, 105 injuries since 2006 with an honorable mention to the Texas pair who “beat, strangled and set on fire an assistant store manager to steal thousands of dollars of Black Friday sales” and the California father charged with the vehicular manslaughter of his two daughters, when, after only three hours of sleep in 24 hours, he crammed his four children into the back car seat designed for only three. According to reports: “A seat in the third row was folded down to make room for the family’s purchases.” *

What has caused this?

Some say it’s the fault of the retail shopping industry that “creates” this nasty mindset when they give such steep discounts on their products.

Wow, just because I can get a $1000 television for $400, I’m now allowed to push a woman out of my way or steal the last available video game system from another one’s cart when he isn’t looking? I’m sure that makes no sense…

Others say it’s caused by unemployment, stagnant wages or the inability for some to afford the purchase of these “necessities” at their regular prices so they “are forced” to fight for their right to get them now.

Listen, no one is forced to camp out on the curb for 5 days in frigid temperatures outside their local Walmart or Best Buy store and make their children take turns manning the line while waiting for the doors to open – just to buy a 5 piece pots and pan set.

Here are some headlines from Black Friday 2017:

  • “Seasons Beatings: Shoppers punch, kick, scream; baby hit with shoe”
  • “Customers wear employee uniforms to sneak into stores”
  • “One shot outside mall; brawls shut another”
  • “Men squabble over toy car”

I read one article about a family that goes to Macy’s every year on Back Friday. The woman said “The discounts are about the same, but we like to come just to be here for the family time.”

Family time, in Macy’s? Is this what our society has boiled-down too?

Regardless of the reason for this insanity, can we assume that the people that “must” take advantage of these sale days, and resort to pushing, fighting and being rude to their fellow shopper can then go back to their regular job on Monday and once again become an upstanding member of society and provide great customer service to many of the exact same people they just barreled-over just 2-3 days before?

Not on your life!

Great customer service is more than “something you do”. It’s a mindset. Click To Tweet

You’ve read these exact words here many times before.

I long for the days as described to me by the neighborhood elders during my youth:

  • Business deals were done with a handshake – no lawyers needed.
  • You gave an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay – no one tried to cheat you out of hours.
  • Neighbor looked out for neighbor and didn’t steal their FedEx package off their doorstep.

I have been in the customer service industry most of my life and can clearly see the difference in how it is now provided.

Few businesses see the benefit in providing more than a “one-and-done” type of service training if they provide it at all. They don’t see the value in creating a long lasting relationship based on decency and respect for the customer.

Ever hear lines like these?

“Don’t like what we sell, then go somewhere else”. “Oh, the price on the sales circular must have been printed wrong, there’s nothing I can do about it”. “I can’t do that, hey, I just work here”.

How can we expect anything else when the store “customer service attendants” act very “non-customer service like” when they’re out shopping themselves? It won’t happen.

Let’s get back to using phrases like these:

  • “I’m happy to help you”.
  • “Yes, of course I can do that”
  • “It’s my pleasure”.
  • “Thank you for your business”.
  • “Here, let me get the door for you”.
  • “May I help you with your bags?”
  • “Oh, please, after you”.
  • “Have a great day, come back again”.

And let’s put civility back into shopping and customer service…and forget the stores on Black Friday.

No wonder Jeff Bezos and Amazon are making such a killing…


Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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7 thoughts on “Black Friday Shopping Brings Out The Worst In Us

  1. You hit the nail on the head with this one, Steve!! All I can say is that – unfortunately – the employees of retail stores bear the brunt of these shoppers (or is it “choppers?” Hmmm…), since the employees are LITERALLY on the front lines of this holiday battle.
    Also unfortunate is the fact that holiday deaths from overly pushy and zealous shoppers don’t care about their fellows as they maim to get to that Barbie doll or Tonka truck to see their child’s eyes “all aglow” on Christmas morning while Mommy or Daddy is sporting a shiner on their eye as well!
    What happened to peace and “goodwill towards men”? As I see it, probably it went the way of the dodo bird and the T-Rex…and humans might become extinct, too, if we don’t remember what caring, respect, and general good manners are – and remember to USE them!

    • We have turned into a society of materialism where we “need” to have stuff – and will let little stand in our way of acquiring the stuff. But how much stuff do we really need?

      Funny, how our grandparents and great grandparents got through life with much less stuff than we have and they built this country.

      • Steve, my big downfalls as far as stuff are books and Disney items – the former collection is currently housed on shelves and in boxes…much to my husband’s chagrin. I have a need to keep learning, and since finishing my Bachelor’s is temporarily on hold, this is how I learn at home. Unfortunately, I am most acquisitive as far as books are concerned….what – besides helping and teaching- is your passion?

          • There is always time for music, Steve! I played violin back many years ago, and also sang in my high school chorus. Both of my parents played instruments and sang, too. In my Dad’s case, he played several stringed instruments, but liked- and played best- the acoustic guitar. He always loved to perform and anytime he wasn’t working, he loved having a hootenanny with friends!

  2. Black Friday is more suitable for E- commerce than retail stores. We can still enjoy the deals just by making online orders and online payment. Even though the race is still there, we customers don’t have to fight head- on.
    Retail shops can survive Black Friday if they allow online orders.
    Customers can buy easily with their phone, tablet or laptop.
    And customer service is still provided professionally, just not face to face.

    • I would like to think that, as you mention Anna, that Black Friday deals will turn into an online-only sales event. This will stop the fights in the stores. But how are the stores to compete? Without their own version of the sale surely they cannot compete and may go out of business.

      In some fashion the instore deals must remain. How we fix the problems is another issue. Thanks.