The 2016 holiday shopping season has finally kicked off!
Black Friday is one of the biggest and busiest events of the year for every retail store in the country. Even before families finish their Thanksgiving meals, insane sales drive customers from all over to shop for the best deals! At the official start of the Christmas shopping season, thousands of people stay up all night to take advantage of crazy sales, to spend time with family and friends, or just to experience the busy crowds and late night activity.
What about the hard working associates who make this chaotic night so successful? Eight SHS students who work at The Crossings Premium Outlets in Tannersville tell their stories about the countless hours of work and the crazy events they experienced from throughout the entire weekend!
Every retail worker has a different perspective and opinion on the biggest shopping day of the year. Some love the excitement, the busy crowds, and the beginning of the holiday spirit. However, some wish they could stay with their families for Thanksgiving, and hate the rude customers and the endlessly stressful shifts. Despite her hectic work schedule, senior Nicolette Abbriano was able to enjoy both holidays on this busy weekend.
ai???I love the sales, but hate how Black Friday is pretty much considered a holiday and is cutting into an actual holiday that is meant to celebrate being thankful for what we have, not what weai??i??re about to buy,ai??? said Kmetz, who worked from 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night to 3:00 a.m.! ai???We also had parents come in and ask us to watch their children while they shopped.ai???
Kmetz and Abbriano were not the only employees forced to deal with crazy customers. Senior Jonathan Navarro shared his retail experiences during his shift at Polo Ralph Lauren Kidai??i??s.
ai???I had customers argue with each other, stuff being thrown out of order, and drinks spilled on clothing.ai???
There was definitely no shortage of chaos to go around during the holiday weekend.
ai???It was so much to take in,ai??? said junior Alexas Cabral, who spent her Thanksgiving night at Abercrombie & Fitch, and Black Friday morning at Timberland. “There were people fighting over shoes, the line to check out went all the way back to the dressing rooms! It was very overwhelming.”
When asked about the craziest thing she witnessed, senior Mariella Barreto said, “People were wearing flip flops in 30 degree weather.”
According to CNN, more than 154 million consumers shopped during this year’s Black Friday event, spending an average of $290! each. Approximately 30% of annual sales for retailers occur during the time between Black Friday and Christmas. This vast increase in revenue is how Black Friday got itai??i??s name; before computers, accounting records would be recorded in either red or black pen. Black ink would indicate a profit while red would indicate a loss; therefore, throughout this festive holiday season, most companies move from red to black ink due to the busy shoppers and irresistible sales! Although, other sources claim the name was dubbed from the violence that occurs at some stores as customers fight over sale items. Fortunately, no fights broke out at the Crossings this year!
But how do retailers keep up the energy for nearly two days of non-stop work?
Many store managers do whatever they can to help their employees survive the night, whether they provide food throughout the night or schedule breaks for much needed rests. At Abercrombie & Fitch, employees were able to bring in food as part of a potluck to share throughout the weekend. At Aeropostale, managers also provided snacks and pizza for their workers during breaks and downtime. And there was definitely plenty of coffee to go around!
ai???I thought it was great that we were able to bring in food,ai??? said senior Jason Schwartz. ai???All of that time on your feet can put a toll on most people.ai???
ai???The pizza made the horrible weekend a lot more tolerable!ai??? said Kmetz when asked about the perks of working on Black Friday.
Although the hours may be grueling, and the people may not be the friendliest at times, a few valuable lessons can be taken from working in retail during a time like this. Most people donai??i??t realize the amount of work it takes to maintain a clean and organized store, all while assisting a customer’s every need.
A first hand experience has opened students’ eyes to how much effort goes into retail, and the appreciation and respect that associates deserve during busy days such as these.Ai??
Just as well, students, some being called into work as early as 5:00 p.m.
On Thanksgiving Day, have also learned to appreciate spending time with their families. Ai??
Senior April Manhart didnai??i??t have much time for her Thanksgiving holiday, but she didnai??i??t let that ruin her start to the holiday season. ai???While the time I spent with my family this year was short, I didnai??i??t have a bad attitude about working,ai??? said Manhart. ai???Having an awesome team at Timberland helped everyone get through the entire holiday weekend.
ai???Shopping after my shifts during the weekend sales allowed me to be as considerate to the employees as I wished people would be to me while at work.ai??? said Navarro, regarding how retail associates are treated during these busy times. ai???Working in retail has taught me to value the time I spend with my family, especially during the holidays.ai???
ai???It was a fun experience to see how retail really works on Black Friday!ai??? said Cabral, reflecting on her long hours over the weekend.
Although Black Friday has come and gone, the holiday season has only just begun! Many stores have sales throughout the season for those who preferred to sleep in during their break last weekend. Shoppers at the Crossings can hear holiday music playing all over the mall, and they can gaze at decorations around each corner.Ai??Thereai??i??s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than to shop around for the perfect gifts for friends and family!