Thanksgiving break is quickly approaching. Typically, this means it is time for home-cooked meals and time with family.
Though students have the week off from classes, many student employees in retail do not get a break from their part-time jobs. In order to stay employed, they will be staying in Manhattan to work Black Friday – one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
“It is kind of a sad time, this is my first break that I haven’t been able to go home and spend it with my family,” said Allison Brown, junior in kinesiology and employee at Gap in Manhattan Town Center. “But at the same time, it is worth the money to stay here.”
Most families are used to having all of their loved ones present, that is, before they went away to college. When students opt out of these family events, tensions can rise.
“My mom was furious when I told her I wasn’t coming home,” Brown said. “I only live two hours away, but I have to work on Black Friday at 6 a.m., so there would really be no point to drive there and then have to come straight back. It is just easier for me to stay here.”
Some places of employment provide holiday alternatives for employees that have sacrificed their break to stay in Manhattan and work.
“There are a lot of our coworkers that are staying here that plan on getting together to do a little family Thanksgiving dinner,” Kassidi Kaemmer, senior in hospitality management and employee at Victoria’s Secret, said. “We are planning on going to our store managers’ house to spend the holiday together.”
Amy Fuller, the manager of Francesca’s boutique, said she understands the importance of a holiday break but also expects a great amount of work ethic out of her employees.
“We try and balance the work schedules out evenly,” Fuller said. “I have a couple girls from Texas and Oklahoma; I understand they need a little bit more time to be at home. We will just have girls work the days leading up to Thanksgiving and I will have no problem giving them the days following Thanksgiving off.”
Fuller said seven of the nine Francesca’s employee’s will be working during Black Friday. Francesca’s as a company respects their employees holiday time, so there is a companywide policy that its boutiques are not to be open at all on Thanksgiving Day. On Black Friday, the company will cater lunch for each of its stores.
Some stores let anyone who wishes to have the break off, have it off.
According to Alex Horne, sophomore in apparel and textile marketing and sales lead at Bath and Body works, there were 17 holiday employees that were hired for the holiday season to stay in Manhattan for the entirety of the break.
“There is no way for us to control who goes home or who stays,” Horne said. “We understand that family is important and not all college students can stay here, so we never force anyone to stay. If you have to go home we understand.”
Many companies participate in holiday hiring, searching for employees who have no problem staying in Manhattan over the breaks to work.
“The sales associates who are staying here, including our holiday hires, will definitely be working on Black Friday just because of how busy we will be,” Horne said. “We plan on having at least 30 employees working throughout the day on Black Friday.”