The 12 Emotional Stages of Working In Retail On Black Friday, As Told in 'I Love Lucy' GIFs

For the most part, everyone loves the day after Thanksgiving. Whether it’s a day of pure relaxation and recovery from binge eating turkey and stuffing with family, or a mad dash to the nearest mall, most people are at least somewhat grateful that Black Friday exists. Unless you work in retail. Then Black Friday becomes one of the most dreadful days of the year, right up there with the day after Christmas and, sometimes, Christmas Eve.

No matter what store you work at, all retail associates have to deal with the same things when Black Friday rolls around — extremely early hours, merchandise-crazy shoppers, and insanely messy stores. Sounds like a piece of cake, right? And though a good Black Friday purchase can make your entire day brighter, retail workers aren’t so lucky — they’re hit with waves of different emotions as the day wears on. I’ve even witnessed an associate cry after being yelled at by an impatient customer when I worked at American Eagle in high school. Here are the 12 emotions every retail worker will experience this Black Friday (and if you’ve worked on Black Friday before like I have, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about). Keep these people in your thoughts today, k?

1. Hopeful Anxiety

You’ve been warned about Black Friday by all your veteran coworkers, but it really doesn’t seem too terrible. Or perhaps you’ve worked Black Friday last year, and the 365 days in between made your memory a bit fuzzy. Either way, it can’t really be THAT bad, right? RIGHT??

2. Slight Panic

Crap! There are already people lined up outside. Not ready.

3. Cautious Excitement

The first customers want to get in and out as fast as possible so they can hit up the other stores. Business as usual for you so far. You knew it wouldn’t be so bad!

4. Dazed and Confused

Hundreds of customers come charging in, bright eyed and bushy tailed after sleeping off that Thanksgiving food baby belly. Still. Not. Ready.

5. Full-On Panic

You know when you get on a treadmill and accidentally make the speed waaaay too high, so you’re running for your life while simultaneously pushing buttons to stop the damn thing?? Yeah, that’s you right now.

6. Completely Drained

Glad that’s over. Wait, how long have I been awake?? It’s only 11:30 a.m.?? Excuse me?!

7. Full-Bellied Contentment

Well you survived the morning shift, and managed to get something from the jungle that is the food court. A bit tired, but still alive. How bad could the afternoon shift be?

8. In Need of Salvation

One minute you're telling a woman she can’t rip the clothes off the storefront mannequin and try them on, the next minute you're chasing a group of little kids around the store, trying to stop them from having a dance party on all the clothes that are on the floor. The place isn’t even recognizable anymore.

9. Fleeting Calm

You duck into the employee bathroom for a much-needed 3-minute break. You try to remember what your yoga teacher said about aligning your chakras to find inner peace. WOOOOOOSAH.

10. Absolutely Pooped

Closing time. You can’t wait till those last few stragglers, ahem, customers, pay and get out. A couple people try to knock on the door, but you gleefully point to the sign in the window — CLOSED.

11. Shock and Horror

Wait, who has to fold up all these shirts with size 6 shoe prints on them from the aforementioned children’s dance party?? AND make sure that there are 12 small, medium, large, and extra large blouses in ROYGBIV order??

12. Sheer Ecstasy

It’s over. ‘Nuff said.

Visit our Black Friday Explore page for more on shopping’s biggest day of the year.

Images: CBS; Giphy