Carnage in the Toy Department!

OZ in OK By OZ in OK, 27th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

Christmas. Shopping. Madness. Need I say more? I do? Okay then - berserk crazy people, a doll, and a rain of toys.

Ah yes, Christmas spirit...

Christmas spirit - that phrase brings up scenes of carolers singing in the snow, families gathered around the tree; in essence, scenes of peace, tranquility and love.

Unless you've worked in retail. At Christmas. Yeah. If you've worked Retail at Christmas, your eye is probably twitching. Mine too. If there was ever anything that made me doubt whether mankind has a future, it was working retail. At Christmas. This story is case in point.

Picture it!

To paraphrase the ever-fabulous Sophia Petrillo: Picture it! Small-town America, 1992.

Over twenty years ago. Egad...

My very first job landed me squarely in the Retail jungle. I was a wide-eyed twenty-year-old, unused to the wily ways of the world. Goodness knows, that innocence didn't last long. Anyway, I had been working at the one of the Big Box Empire stores on the overnight stocking and receiving crew, and this store had just opened a few months earlier. It was new! It was stylish! To small-town America, it was like leaving an open jar of honey next to an ant hill.

It was actually a perfect storm. Delays in the new store opening meant there was an enormous backlog of merchandise, which took up over a whole fleet of trailers. Interest in the new store had spread far and wide, with people driving in from all over to see it. The grand opening saw the parking lot absolutely full of cars, trucks and RVs - yes, recreational vehicles. Remember, I said interest in this store had people coming in from all over. The new store absolutely jammed with people. It was new! It was stylish... yeah, whatever. Needless to say, the crowds were insane... and they stayed insane all through fall and into December. This meant, of course, that the already huge crowds were now expanding with Christmas shoppers, with all the chaos that implies. Oh yes, it was unbelievable.

Christmas was in full swing! Yay... It was our first Christmas in the new store, yet oddly enough, there wasn't much holiday cheer among the harried, harassed and overwhelmed employees. The daytime employees had their hands full just dealing with the massive crowds of berserk shoppers, so we were 'volunteered' to continue working, getting merchandise out of the trailers and onto the shelves, which translated into 14 to 16 hour days. We were swamped. Swamped with berserk crazy people. Shopping for Christmas... you know, that time of good will to all mankind? Hey, why are your eyes rolling like that?

Maneuvering pallets down the aisles was an impossibility because there was simply no way to get around the customers. We resorted to filling up shopping carts full of merchandise and running them along the outside aisles to get where they needed to go. Back and forth. Back and forth. We got pretty experienced at dodging the shoppers who wanted to see what goodies we had in the shopping carts, or the children who would run screaming down the aisles for no reason, ripping merchandise off peg-hooks and off shelves while their ever-so-attentive parents were yelling at other customers... or us.

Anyway, that morning I was in the toy department's doll aisle, on one of the extended ladders handing up freight to be stacked on the top riser. For those unfamiliar with retail lore, the risers are additional shelves, bolted onto each aisle’s shelves, where the overstock freight would go. The aisle was positively packed with people, and toys were flying - and in some cases, getting ripped off the shelves. Toys were disappearing off the risers as quickly as they were going up. Customers were complaining about us getting in their way, and we were complaining about the customers as we ran the gauntlet of berserk crazy people. It was, in a word, insane. Naturally, it could only get worse, right? My, my, gentle reader - you are perceptive, aren't you?

I can't remember who I was handing freight to, but I clearly remember:

'Get your hands off that Cabbage Patch doll!'
'No! I got here first, you ****!'
'Give me that Cabbage Patch doll RIGHT NOW YOU *****!'


Oh yeah. That can't be good.

I looked down in time to see two women pulling on a Cabbage Patch doll - one lady had blood (yes, blood) running down the side of her face from the other woman's.... cane. Yes, I said 'cane'. See, both women had to be in their late 60's or early 70's. Fighting. Over a doll.

The old woman with blood on her face (we'll call her Bloody Grandma) let go of the Cabbage Patch doll. This caused the old woman with the cane (we'll call her Caning Grandma) to fly backward, completely off-balance, into several customers who were unfortunate enough to not get out of the way in time. Then, with a speed I really didn't expect from one of the elder generation, Bloody Grandma rushed forward and:


No, it wasn't a slap - it was a total, solid punch to the jaw. I was a good ten feet away and I absolutely heard Bloody Grandma's fist connect with Caning Grandma's face. Caning Grandma had just rebounded off those unfortunate customers, and getting socked in the face just threw her backward... right into the shelves. This time the customers got out of the way. This time, the shelves took the brunt of impact.

All of this took maybe... five seconds? I don't know for sure. It was one of those weird moments that seemed to go on forever. Sorta like watching a train-wreck. Or reality TV. I remember everyone in the aisle were frozen in place, all with the same comical look of utter shock. Then I heard the sound of shifting boxes.

Remember why I was in the doll aisle in the first place? All the boxes of freight we'd been stacking up on the risers? Yeah. Did I also mention that Caning Grandma was a big girl? No, no, I really need to emphasize this: Caning Grandma was a big girl. You see where this is going, don't you gentle reader? Yeah.

Well, it was suddenly raining in that aisle. It wasn't raining men - although I'm sure a few Ken dolls who decided to take the plunge in there somewhere on that fateful day. It wasn't raining manna from heaven either. It rained toys. Lots of toys. Lots and lots of toys. Now, let me pause for a second here: how could a cascade of dolls, doll accessories, fabulous dolly dresses, cars that showed that Susie Longhair's upper tax-bracket status... how could this be a bad thing? Surely a downpour like this is the culmination of little girls' (and some boys') dreams, right?

Not on that day. Nope. Remember me also saying the aisle was absolutely packed with people, staring at this spectacle of elderly plus-size women 'gettin' after it'? That didn't last. It was like someone yelling 'FIRE!' in a packed theater. Or letting a real gassy one in the car with the windows rolled up. Between the dueling grandmas and the sudden rain o' Christmas doll toys from above, critical mass had been reached. People ran out the aisle... screaming. No, I'm serious - screaming. I was nearly thrown off the ladder when it was smacked hard by at least one panicked Christmas shopper. Employees desperately flattened themselves against the shelves trying to avoid the crush of people flinging themselves out of the doll aisle. The displays at both ends were mowed down and obliterated. I mean, shoppers actually body-slammed the poor things, like on those wrestling shows on TV. Then the heavens closed, and the rains ceased. From my vantage point, the aisle looked like an F5 tornado had roared through it. I couldn't even see the floor, being covered in mashed and trampled toy boxes.

There was a moment of silence... only a moment. The dueling grandmas got back to dueling and screaming abuse. They were both grabbing at the Cabbage Patch doll. I really don't know how the thing didn't just explode in a cloud of outraged stuffing from the abuse. It took several employees to separate them, still swinging (both fists and a cane). They were dragged off to Electronics until the Police arrived. I had to give a statement to what I saw, all the while having this surreal feeling about having to give Police statements about two elderly ladies. I mean really... watching two old women getting arrested? The Police also took the Cabbage Patch doll as evidence. Poor thing probably still sits in an evidence box somewhere, thinking mournfully of the two crazy old women.

Some of my friends talk about the first fights they ever witnessed - in bars, parking lots - that sort of thing. Me? The first fistfight I ever witnessed were between two elderly women... over a Cabbage Patch doll. During Christmas. Working retail.


Christmas, Humor, Humor At Work, Humorous, Humorous Stories, Humorous Story, Retail, Shoppers, Shopping

Meet the author

author avatar OZ in OK
Just your average guy who loves to write. I plan on writing fantasy, sci-fi, humor - stuff like that.

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author avatar David Smith
28th Aug 2013 (#)

I really enjoyed this! I love your techniques that you write with! I'd like to read more.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Never underestimate the fist of fury and tit for tat. Thanks for this humorous post that was like a hilarious and thriller movie! siva

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