Black Friday for many of us means shopping, great deals, family, turkey sandwiches and an extra day off work. But for many hourly employees Black Friday is a work day. If you’re scheduled to work (you normally work every Friday), but you really have difficulty managing crowds and need the day off, what do you do? You could approach management and request the day off, but what if the answer is NO? Try working something out with a co worker. If you have a strong relationship, and are willing to give back (I’ll work Christmas Eve for you), you might get Black Friday off. These schedule switches really come in handy and management will usually approve if it doesn’t cost them anything. But the key is a sturdy relationship with your co workers. Be willing to help, and the help will be returned. You may just escape the crowds on Black Friday.
If you are an hourly employee working on Black Friday, you will undoubtedly be dealing with lots of people in crowded areas. The stores, of course will be packed with shoppers, but also restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels will be busy. Depending on your job, you may be required to move through and around large groups of people- waiter, busser, bartender, host/greeter, shelf stocker, sales associate. People are often oblivious, and do not move out of the way. You can’t shove them (although you might like to!) and “Excuse me!” for the 10th time is not working. What do you do? You need to actively establish boundaries and rules for these people. So, the waiter needing to get through the group, could say, “Folks, you need to move over to the side behind this pillar so I have a pathway. Ma’am, on the end there, you need to back up about a foot.” Be specific and clear. You will inevitably hear “Why?” or “What happens if I don’t?” or “I’m fine where I am.” The answer to all of this is, “You need to move so I can do my job and you can get your food.” Said with a strong clear voice (and a smile if you can manage it!) this directive is not offensive or rude. It establishes much needed boundaries for people and allows you to stay in control of the situation. Now you and your co workers can move through and get the job done.