Amid all of the holiday festivities and family gatherings is always the cloud of Black Friday shopping.
I call it a cloud because it was never a fun-filled shopping day of grabbing the latest and greatest deals off of the shelves for me.
I almost always had to work at my part time job, which was almost always at a retail store.
Boo-hoo-woe-is-me I know, but, when you work retail, paid days off are hard to come by. With the prospect of Thanksgiving Day looming, just the words Black Friday could put a damper on any of that PDO excitement immediately.
Last year, I worked at a Macy’s Department Store during the holiday season.
Being a seasonal worker, I knew Black Friday was what they had brought me in for. Preparation for the big day had begun months prior, and when it finally rolled around, the anxiety and hype associated seemed to match all of my day’s experiences.
From the moment my shift started, lines at the register were non-stop, clothes seemed to endlessly pile up in the dressing rooms, clothes hangers were poking my arms and legs from being shoved into every available spot behind the counter and questions about clearly labeled sale signs were like nails on a chalkboard.
The ‘retail stare,’ as I liked to call it, had taken over by hour 3, and the zombie-like mentality drudged on along with me throughout the shift while my eyes glazed over, distracted by bright lights and reflections from the only window in sight as I asked repeatedly and robotically to each customer in my line, “Do you have a Macy’s card?”.
Point being, the day made me feel anything but jolly. I know for some turkey-stuffed shoppers, it can be hard to remember that some people are still working throughout the chaos, and those people are missing out on time with their families so they can work--I don’t know how anyone could really feel jolly.
Although I must give props to my employer--Macy’s supplied everyone working that day with free lunch, constant drinks and snacks and a team-like morale.
If my memories and quick research won’t fail me, Black Friday wasn’t always what it is today. Shopping used to actually begin on Friday, and end on Friday. It seems to go on all weekend now. Although in recent years, I have known families to have Thanksgiving Day ‘dinner’ at more of a lunch time so they could get to shopping sooner.
As Black Friday shopping weekend kicks off, I just ask that anyone venturing out into the crowds to remember how those working are making a sacrifice, by choice or not by choice, to work instead of be at home with their families or friends. Perhaps it might even bring you more Holiday spirit to thank someone working that day--I know it could at least make the worker’s Holiday spirit a little bit brighter.
Kelly is a Staff Writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, or she can also be reached via email at kslavenGCDW@outlook.com.