Archive for Friday, November 24, 2006

Retail workers gear up for onslaught

Calm demeanor and patience will help employees endure hectic shopping day

November 24, 2006


Move over turkey: Caffeine is the official fare for the day after Thanksgiving.

At least it is if you are among the hundreds of Lawrence retail workers who will be staffing stores and shops in the city today.

"I probably drink more caffeine (today) than I do in a week's time," said Jeremy Cain, an employee at Hobbs, 700 Mass. "You don't want to have your brain blurred. You have to bring your 'A' game."

A calm demeanor, patience and a friendly smile also are good things for retail employees to tote along to work today.

"The entire day is extremely hectic," said Tricia Sweany, an employee at The Toy Store, 936 Mass. "You will get yelled at. But the day goes by fast. It is stressful, but it helps that it goes by fast."

Cain describes the job as being a "pinball," bouncing from one task to the next. But the thought of all the bouncing does nothing to slow down his Thanksgiving day eating plans.

"I still pound down all that stuff," Cain said. "I figure I'll need it for fuel."

The main key to having a successful day, though, isn't turkey. It is planning, said Justin Burns, store team leader for Lawrence's SuperTarget, 3201 Iowa. His store begins bulking up its employee totals in October by hiring 50 to 80 seasonal employees who work through January.

Burns estimated that at any given point during today that the store would have 20 to 30 more employees working than it normally would.

"I'm a former Army officer, and to be honest with you, it kind of has that feel of working together as a team and accomplishing missions throughout the day," Burns said. "That's the biggest thing I enjoy about the job - the sense of camaraderie and teamwork."

Amy Lewis, an employee in the toy department at SuperTarget, 3201 Iowa, checks a holiday advertising brochure against store stock in preparation for today's big shopping day. Lewis worked at the store on Wednesday.

Amy Lewis, an employee in the toy department at SuperTarget, 3201 Iowa, checks a holiday advertising brochure against store stock in preparation for today's big shopping day. Lewis worked at the store on Wednesday.

At JC Penney, 3311 Iowa, Lynn Roberts has been working in retail for 26 years. She said the key to working the day after Thanksgiving is to learn how to look forward to it.

"I just try to be mentally positive," Roberts said. "You can't think of it as a curse. You just have to look at it as an opportunity to help a lot of people."

Sweany, at The Toy Store, agreed that the day can have its special moments.

"It is rewarding when someone finds the absolutely perfect toy for a person," Sweany said. "It is neat to think they'll play with that toy for years, and probably even remember it when they grow up and have kids."


Nikki May 11 years, 6 months ago

It's fun. I like the chaos. Actually it wasn't too bad anywhere except best buy.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 6 months ago

When I worked in retail I hated this day, it really is crazy and long for the workers. Why do people keep shopping on this day? Because the stores add extra discounts to some big selling items for certain hours always the crack of dawn of course, and people want to make sure they get that really hot, fast selling item before they are gone on the chance that the stores will not get more in before christmas.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 6 months ago

And just to let all know thee is nothing that would make an old lady like me go out at 4 am to wit for a chance at getting a toy for 5 bucks chaper never did understand the madness, but I hate shopping, I am so un girl :)

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 6 months ago

So do these 'retail workers' get additional compensation for the added stress of dealing with crazy American shoppers looking for the "deals" on this day after Thanksgiving? Retailers win. Shoppers win. Do the workers win? You know, the ones who do the work. Hence the name "workers".

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 6 months ago

nope just the great pleasure of the stress and rude people thinking the world owes them. Unless you get paid overtime.

JayCat_67 11 years, 6 months ago

I never got any extra for the day after thanksgiving when I worked at Best Buy. I didn't really need it though. They treated me pretty well throughout the year, so putting up with one day of total insanity and a month or so of heavier traffic wasn't an issue. Personally though, I do not fare well in large crowds. If I go to a mall during the Christmas shopping season, I literally start to shake and have to leave.

Bobbi Walls 11 years, 6 months ago

I used to work in a toy store as a manager, the year that the original tickle me elmo was released.. I loved the craziness of it. We had to be in at 4am, but the day went by so quick. The only bad thing is that I didn't get to go out and get all the other great deals.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 6 months ago

sounds like you two lucked out I always hated the day after thankgiving and christmas.

overthemoon 11 years, 6 months ago

WE decided to check out Nebraska Furniture Mart this morning...that huge parking lot was completely full when we got there at 7:00 am and the entire first floor was completely jammed with people buying a $119 tv that's probably worth about $99!!! We went upstairs to look at some furniture and it was blissfully quiet. Walked over to the Legends and poked around, but mainly just marvelled at the crowds and figured we were participating in an authentic american cultural experience---more important in a lot of minds than Thanksgiving.

That's kind of sad.

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