Students jolly to work back home for holidays

Black Friday comes around another year for shoppers

Photo by Dara Collins
A bold display advertizes sales at the Johnstown Galleria Aeropostale Sunday, Nov. 26.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

Men, women and children bustle up and down aisles and in and out of stores from sun up to sundown as the best deals await eager shoppers. Employees flash a friendly smile despite the long day ahead and scurry from shopper to shopper answering questions. It’s Black Friday, a retail worker’s busiest time of year.

As Thanksgiving break ends and Christmas break peaks over the horizon, students return to their seasonal jobs at home.

“I actually prefer around the holidays because people are coming home,” broadcast reporting sophomore Meghan Macioce said. “As a cashier, I get to talk to the customers. I like hearing from people who come home for the holidays or if they’re traveling somewhere for the holidays.

Thanksgiving break allows students a week to recoup from the essays and exams and reunite with hometown friends and family. Some dust off a uniform to work during the holiday. As Black Friday kicks off the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, student-workers prepare for the madness.

“I love the thrill and excitement of [Black Friday],” broadcast production and media management junior Siena Stroh said.

Stroh worked at OshKosh B’Gosh, a children’s clothing store, before taking her current position as a seasonal associate at Adidas just over a year ago. She assists customers with finding shoe sizes and equipment and taking online orders.

Levi’s seasonal employee Julia Menosky also enjoys the atmosphere on Black Friday.

“Working retail on Black Friday is crazy,” Menosky said. “But I do it because I get time and a half, and I worked 8 to 6. We had a steady flow of people all night long. It’s constantly ‘Go, go, go!’”

On the other hand, Macioce’s night shift seemed unusually slow.

“Major mall stores opened around the same time we did, so that probably hurt us,” Macioce said.

Macioce is a seasonal sales associate at the Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Her primary duties include sorting and pricing clothes, assisting customers and working behind the register. Macioce also has a year’s worth of experience at Old Navy.

The Adidas location that employs Stroh increases the amount of help on the floor during Black Friday, according to Stroh, to help as many customers as possible.

“Holiday shoppers are usually super intense and are always needing your help,” Sports, Arts, & Entertainment senior Molly Knepper-Miller said.

Knepper-Miller has holiday experience from one season at American Eagle and five at Aeropostale. She worked year-round before attending Point Park and now typically finds her herself behind the register on most seasonal shifts.

With a few holiday seasons under their belts, these employees became skilled at recognizing the different types of shoppers.

“The holiday shopper’s cart is 10 times more full, and they’re usually happier because they’re in a giving mood,” Macioce said.

As for the nonchalant shopper, they are not looking for anything in particular and do not typically approach employees.

“A regular shopper on any other normal time of the year will come in and just stroll and look and take a while before they come up to you and ask you for assistance,” Knepper-Miller said.

Stroh finds enjoyment in the last minute shoppers who rush in the week of Christmas.

No matter the time of year, these retail employees agree customers influence their mood.

“If it’s a happy customer, I’m happy,” Macioce said. “If it’s a moody customer, I just want my shift to be over.”

These student-workers have some advice for holiday shoppers: respect the employees and be patient.

“Respect the people who are working because they are working long hours and they are trying their best to give you, as the customer, the best service they could possibly have after working a 10 hour shift,” Knepper-Miller said.

Employees are abundant to help shoppers, so do not be hesitant to ask for assistance.

“If you can’t find your size, please ask for help,” Macioce said. “Don’t ruin my display please.”

The holidays are the season of giving and receiving – and shopping.

“Even though the time is crazy, it’s a good kind of crazy,” Macioce said.