Mall worker survives Black Friday

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Mall worker survives Black Friday

Kacee Haslett

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On Thanksgiving, my manager opened the boutique gate at 6 a.m.

In addition to everything I’m involved in at BCHS, I work as a stylist at Francesca’s in the Castleton Mall. Francesca’s is a chain-boutique where we sell women’s clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes. We’re located across from the Starbucks kiosk, and adjacent to the Lego Store and Pandora.

I started at the end of my sophomore year and it’s a fairly steady job. My official title is a “stylist,” but I mostly greet guests, help them find items, ring people out and straighten up the boutique. Since I’m in school right now, I only work one shift a week: the closing Saturday night shift.

This wasn’t the case over Thanksgiving break, as I was scheduled to work Friday night and Saturday night. We needed every staff member on board for Black Friday. I’d already been worried about working in the mall that day, since I’d never been a Black Friday shopper myself. Were the crowds going to be crazy? Were our guests going to be rude? What exactly would my 4-hour shift entail?

As I worked, I recorded my thoughts down every hour and then quickly went back to work. Keep in mind, I hadn’t been there in the rush of a 6 a.m. opening.

  • 4 p.m. I usually leave my house before my 5 p.m. shift around 4:30 p.m. to make sure I get a parking spot and won’t be late. But the crowds tonight will be massive, and it’s already hard enough trying to get a parking spot before work, so I just asked my mom if she could drop me off and pick me up so I wouldn’t have to worry about my car. She said, “Yes,” thank goodness! Now I have to find my other boot and make sure I eat something before I go.
  • 5 p.m. There were so many people and cars in the parking lot, I couldn’t even get to the employee-only door and had to enter the mall at the food court, which is kind of far from Francesca’s. I ran all the way here, clocked in, and I’ve just set my coat down in the back room. I could barely get to the back room! We’re such a small store, so it’s already hard to move around. I also just had my “Frannie Five,” when the people on the new shift switch out with the old ones and the manager or assistant manager speaks to us about new promotions, our roles for the day, and how much money we have to make today or our “plan.” We are planned for about $15,000 today. Normally we are planned for roughly $4,000.
  • 6:32 p.m. I missed the hour mark because there were so many people to greet and help and explain our sale today, which is Buy One, Get One 60 percent Off the entire store.  I haven’t been able to stand in the store because of the sheer volume of people, and I’ve just been greeting guests in the doorway instead. I also saw some other BCHS students stop in and shop! It’s always fun to see people you know at work.
  • 7:07 p.m. It is not slowing down. The other stylist scheduled to work this night is behind the cashwrap, which is what we call our register (we wrap up our guests’ purchases). Also guests don’t really listen to me very much. I’ve repeatedly explained to many that the whole store is Buy One, Get One 60 percent Off. However, many of them would get up to the register with one item and then complain that they weren’t receiving the 60 percent off discount. I was kind of scared because they would be mad at us, the employees, but what were we supposed to do? We’re just trying to do our jobs.
  • 8:04 p.m. There was about ten minutes where it slowed down, but we’re right back to it. I’m running around refilling jewelry and straightening racks. In about 30 minutes, I’ll begin basic closing procedures, like dusting and cleaning the mirrors. I’ve almost made it!
  • 9:00 p.m. They announced over the loudspeaker that the mall would close in ten minutes at 8:50 p.m. A couple walked in about three minutes ago. We’re not allowed to tell them to leave. My manager told me to stand at the door and make sure no one else entered. We’re all just kind of annoyed because we aren’t allowed to begin closing procedures–vacuuming, counting the cash from the registers, restocking, putting holds back, etc–until the boutique gate is down. We can’t shut the boutique gate with guests inside.
  • 9:46 p.m. Normally we are out of the store for the night at 9:30 p.m. at the latest, but the couple had to look at everything in the store. They only left ten minutes ago. My manager is currently counting the tills as I type. When she’s done, I’ll have to count it and verify that her numbers are correct. We still have the rest of the closing checklist to get through. We are supposed to be outside of the boutique at 10:00 p.m. or the store will be fined by the mall. So everything’s kind of hectic for me, the other stylist, and my manager right now.
  • 10:07 p.m. I’m sitting in my dad’s car, on my way home from work! My feet are killing me and I can’t wait to change out of my jeans and nice top into pajamas. I survived.

With Friday night’s experience, I feel like I can easily work any crazy day in Castleton Mall now. I wonder how the day after Christmas will be.