Protect yourself from Black Friday craziness
Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It can also be one of the scariest for hourly employers. It’s a day when the numbers of sales are high but so are the numbers of fights, thieves, injuries and walk-outs. A recent Snagajob poll asked employees about their craziest Black Friday experience. We’ve got their responses and a few ideas of how to make this Black Friday safe and profitable.
Fighting was reported as the biggest concern during the shopping rush. Snagajob’s survey found many respondents either witnessed or got involved in a scuffle on Black Friday. “I was working in a major department store”, said one respondent, “and this man fought an elderly woman for a set of towels…too intense for me.” Another claimed, “I was elbowed in the face and got a black eye.”
Both responses are frightening to an employer. On one hand, you have aggressive customers and an employee who does not know how to deal with the situation. The other scenario has you attending to an injured worker. To help diminish fights, teach your staff what to do in case a situation does arise. Walk your team through multiple scenarios, teach them how to diffuse tempers and to get a manager when things get sketchy. Always keep a first aid kit handy and make sure your employees know where it is and what to do in case of an injury.
Theft was the second greatest response, with a handful having witnessed customers stealing each other’s items. “This man stole a T.V. from the other man because it was the last one in stock”, recalled one participant. Luckily, our survey didn’t reveal any reports of looting but it can happen and you may want to beef up security to keep shopping honest.
If you have access to trained security, like mall cops, let them know you expect to be busy. Make sure your employees know typical shoplifting behaviors. Customers that deny assistance or look at employees instead of the merchandise are two major red flags. You can also share tips with customers at check-out, such as keeping items out of sight while in parked cars, to keep their shopping experience safe and pleasant.
The final safety concern for Black Friday is exhaustion. Your employees will likely be working unusual hours and dealing with difficult customer demands. “It was really busy, and I almost fell asleep on the job”, recalled one employee. Another employee remembers, by the end of their shift, “walking around the store, looking half dead”.
Obviously, alert employees will be a greater asset to your business and more successful at stopping problems before they become crazy. Make sure your team has the chance to get plenty of sleep. Schedule each shift accordingly, so they will have plenty of time to rest before coming to work. Remind your staff to bring their food for the day, rather than purchasing it on their break. Food courts and restaurants will likely be busy and employees who leave the store may not have time to eat before their break is over.
Black Friday can be an excellent opportunity to kick off the holiday shopping season. However, you shouldn’t feel like you’re surviving it. Remove the fear from this cheerful season. Take a few precautions to get your business through Black Friday without all the craziness.