Michelle's Blog My life is almost as interesting as this theme.

December 5, 2012

Slice O’ Life REVISED

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 3:01 am


Black Friday (or Thursday night, as it is becoming) is the biggest shopping day of the year. A time for visiting family to get up early, or stay up late, fight the crowds, and bond for the sake of good prices. However, the people who have to work these ridiculous hours in the stressful and chaotic conditions of Black Friday often go un-thanked and even unnoticed.

Black Friday started because of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In the early 20th century, the holiday shopping did not begin until after the parade and continued this way for decades. Macy’s would follow up their parade with advertisement for their outrageously low holiday deals. Even though stores start the holiday shopping season much before the day after Thanksgiving, it is still tradition that the shopping season “officially” begins on Black Friday.

Also, according to BlackFriday.com, it is called “Black” Friday because, back when records were kept by hand, records written in red denoted a loss in sales and records written in black indicated a profit. Black Friday was the start of the records being consistently kept in black ink.

However, the unsung heroes of Black Friday often receive no recognition for having to leave their families’ Thanksgiving get-togethers to be to work at 8 pm or go to bed early so they can be rested for work at 4 or 5 am.

For the first time, several PetSmart stores opened their doors at midnight for the throngs of people who wanted half-price on dog beds and apparel, aquariums, and hamster treats.

The PetSmart in Sioux City, Iowa was optimistic about its sales potential prior to Black Friday.

“I talked them into letting me open at midnight,” said manager Matt Boos excitedly. “It’s going to be a great night to be in retail.”

The consensus among the lower-level workers for the store could not have been any different.

“I mean, I’d rather work midnight until morning and get it over with than have to get up early,” said pet care worker Cindy Robles, “but, honestly, this is the last place I want to be on Black Friday.”

Why would their views be so different? It’s easy. In the retail world on Black Friday, the winners are those who are higher up in the company making money off the work of the lower level associates or the local managers, striving to impress those higher-ups, who can hide in their offices and pile up sales numbers.

The losers, however, are those peons doing all the work, notably not making any more than normal day, even though the amount of work and stress is easily doubled from the average work day.

“The CEOS and their henchmen rake in the money from today,” said groomer Tanya Johnson, referencing Black Friday, “but I make the same as the average day. I do at least twice the work.”

One top of this, the associates must deal with disgruntled and impatient customers who are often in a hurry.

“I worked six in the morning until four in the evening,” said cashier Rachel Sanford. “I had a customer throw a ball at me. It’s beyond rudeness at this point. It’s just blatant disrespect. Maybe they don’t think I’m a human being.”

“I literally had a customer call me bitchy because I wouldn’t accept her coupon that was 2 months old. At what point do we get to stop being ‘PetSmart workers’ and stand up for ourselves?” said associate Leslie Andersen.

Black Friday may only come once a year; however, once is enough for these PetSmart associates.




  1. Your writing is always entertaining and easy to read. Flows nicely!

    Comment by Claire — December 5, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  2. I love the angst and humor in your words. I’m always entertained by your writing. While I can’t relate to Black Friday working at a grocery store, you do paint a nice picture of what it’s like.

    Comment by Chase — December 5, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  3. Just to begin: I hope you had a good semester and took something valuable from this class. I got a better sense of your style and voice (partly the angst that Chase sees), and I hope you did as well.

    Slice of Life: “Unthanked and unnoticed” are keys here, I think. You explore that theme pretty well. You could make a stronger connection from profit in graf 3 back to the stress and anger of graf 4, then go off and running on to the sales floor.

    If in the future you should [again] find yourself explaining to readers some aspect of your life and experience, consider how you will make your analysis real and credible. The goal here was to write about something from the “inside” that your reader probably hasn’t experienced. One way is to describe and explain from your perspective what happens around you. A second way is to bounce your ideas off others, get their reaction, or their alternative explanations. You have aspects of both here (yeah!). With that accomplished, do more. (Insert smiley face here.)

    Have a good break, Michelle, and I’ll see you next semester.

    Comment by fuglsang — December 17, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

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