Classic Face and their nutcrackers

Submitted into Contest #19 in response to: Write a short story about someone in the middle of a very long and busy retail shift.... view prompt



It was thanksgiving day and the team at Classic Face Clothing Store was having a meeting to prep them for the next few hours of their shifts. 

“We’re all aware of how stressful it is to work during this time of the year, but I believe we should go over a few basic regulations,” spoke the manager. As a result, Gerald an employee started patting down some of his forehead sweat. “I do trust you all to be on your utmost behavior, but I want to remind you that you are responsible to keep a productive but safe environment for both employees and customers. No matter the circumstance an employee should not leave their assigned work without permission from I the manager or any other supervisor. Now that being said you have the right to not be free from harassment of all types so please let me know if something gets out of hand.” 

People turned to each other and started whispering. “Last year was crazy, I kid you not, I didn’t think I would get through the long line that leeched onto my register.” said Monica already looking exhausted.

“I never felt like sleeping more after a shift, to be honest with you I felt like quitting.” responded Jessica. That’s when they turned around to see Miles playing what looked like charades. 

“I didn’t know you worker part-time as a mime Miles.”

“He’s reenacting what happened during last years sale,” stated Gerald biting down on a tissue. Jessica and Monica turned back around and quivered. 

There was an hour left until the store opened and the manager had set out everyone to make sure certain cases were locked and that the store looked clean and neat. Everyone was nervous, being that Classic Face was a retail store people could pretty much find any gift for a friend during the holiday season, it was a perfect store to raid.

Claire had just finished checking the makeup department “All good over here” she reported over the walkie talkie. 

Jessica picked up the talkie “Yeah same thing in the women’s clothing section, how about you Junior? Over.”

“I’m just hanging up a few shirts on their correct racks but I’ll meet back up with y’all in ten.” 


Ten minutes passed and the staff reconveined, Junior ran back making it just in time, “Everyone ready for the herd?” All nodded. There were only five minutes left until it was time to open. 

Claire peeked out the window, and surely enough, there was a crowd of people. Gerald nudged her aside so he could see, but he was filled with instant regret seen as he started inhaling and exhaling deeply. “Alright guys,” approached the manager “I’ll be opening the doors I want everyone to get into their positions.” Most of the staff were working as cashiers but there were at least two employees at each department in the store.

The manager now approached the doors with the keys in each hand and started unlocking them simultaneously. He then backed up fast fearing the possibility of being trapped inside the stampede. and grabbed the megaphone and announced “Please shop safely and no trampling on others!!!” There was a moment of eerie silence that fell upon Classic Face.

Then there was a great shadow that covered the manager the darkness of the sky now blended with what was a group of customers. The horizon disappeared and it became clear why it was called, Black Friday.

People ran like rabid dogs and if anyone was ever to experience a horror movie in real life, this is what it would look like. Or at least, Monica swore she saw the girl from the Ring. 

Instantly, a band of people formed behind each register. Gerald couldn’t handle the stress of being a cashier so before they opened the doors he begged the manager to let him work in the aisles. Still others were Frantic, despite Jessica’s previous experiences that made her want to quit she still took upon one of the hardest roles which was being the cashier. She started reciting a Spanish prayer in hear head, while looking back every now and then to see how many more customers she needed to deal with. Jessice started limiting her responses to customers as “mhm!” 

Miles was also working as a cashier, he was working the fastest out of the whole group. “I ain’t got much time for y’all let’s keep it movin’!” He said snapping. An old white lady approached him and asked asking if his hair actually gets wet or if his coils deflect any kind of moisture. Miles grinned, the employee handbook stated that the customer’s happiness was their number one priority. Except, Miles never let anybody set his priorities for him. He cleared his throat, “the only thing that lacks moisture is that wrinkly skin of yours, now if you want I can direct you to the beauty department, I’m pretty sure there’s an isle dedicated to lotions.“ Miles was written up the next day.

It was now 2 am and all the employees of Classic Face had been working for 2 hours, they close at 4am and reopen at 7am. 

Claire didn’t do much helping, everyone in the store knew what they were looking for and wasted no time, she kind of just stood there in the corner watching people snatch and yank items off the shelves. 

Gerald on the men’s clothing section was supposed to interject during quarrels, but all he could do was plead for them to stop arguing. It worked for one pair, seeing as they were so disturbed one of them just handed the eyeshadow palette over. Gerald called one of his coworkers, Weng. 

“How are you holding up?”

“I’m not good, Gerald, I’m not good. Two guys almost started fighting over a new microwave. I had to yell at the top of my lungs for them to just hear me. I don’t think they pay us enough for this crap.” 

Gerald sniffed.

“Yo, buddy are you crying?”

“No it’s just nasal congestion, I think these cinnamon scented candles are starting to get to me.”

“... Ok.”

The store was pretty much emptied by now, clothing hangers on the floor, lipsticks left open, TVs gone. 

The megaphone clicks on, “Well done team it is now officially 4am you can get your belongings from the lounging room and leave, sleep well soldiers.” After that, it was like you could hear the whole store sigh, the employees of Classic Face slowly started marching out resembling the nut crackers by the entrance, that were put there to decorate for the christmas season. 

“March on, nutcrackers.”

December 13, 2019 16:21

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Synia Sidhe
13:39 Dec 23, 2019

Very interesting. I think it can be pretty tough to juggle a big cast in such a short story. Did you base this off your experiences as a shopper or a cashier?


Andrea Zimerer
17:44 Jan 04, 2020

Honestly, I’ve never gone to Black Friday, especially when all stores would open at 12am. I’ve also never worked as a cashier but I could imagine how stressful it would gave been. I’m glad you found it interesting though!


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