Five hundred people scrambled for 20 jobs at the new Poundland store in Walsall town centre.
The race for positions came as unemployment hit a 17-year high, with more than 1,000 people joining the jobless queues in Walsall in the last 12 months alone.
Bosses at Willenhall-based Poundland were so overwhelmed with applications that they conducted 120 interviews for the 20 vacancies at the store based at the former TJ Hughes shop.
Leader of Walsall Council Mike Bird said: "This shows there are people who want to work wherever they can find it. One has to have sympathy with the 480 people who lost out."