The Big Story Blog

Working Black Friday: What readers say

Posted at 12:57 PM on November 22, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Economy

Jeremiah Myer will be up at 3:15 am or so on Friday, driving 25 miles from his home in Waseca to a store where he'll work from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. He didn't say which store, but it didn't sound like much fun.

"Have to leave family early (on Thanksgiving) to get home to bed. I miss alot of the family time. with my children and my grandchildren," Myer wrote us."And because I have to leave my wife has to leave as well so she misses out also."

Myer is one of a dozen or so Minnesotans in the MPR News Public Insight Network who shared their views on working Black Friday. We asked folks to share some thoughts on work schedule and what it's like working that crazy shopping day. "It's a very tense day," Myer added, with a lot of pressure on sales and impolite customers.

"Crazy" is a theme we heard more than a few times.

"I've gotten hit by carts before, because people are tired and hurried and are not watching where they are going," said Jennifer Jenkins, a Target employee from Isanti who'll be working at 6 a.m., adding "I would spend more time with family if I did not have to work. I certainly do not want to shop on Black Friday."

Click on the map icons below to see other responses from our network.

View Working Black Friday in a full screen map


The Black Friday drill is very different for Gillette Kempf, a bookstore owner in Wadena.

"Owning my own retail business means that on the afternoon of Thanksgiving day we all come into the bookstore and decorate for Christmas," she said. "When family events are scheduled for Friday or Saturday my husband and I take turns attending since we both cannot be away from the bookstore at the same time for this weekend."

Black Friday itself is a "roller coaster ride," she added. "Really busy, then dead, then crazy busy again. The end of the day is spent putting the store back together."

Daniel Swenson-Klatt, owner of Butter Bakery Cafe in Minneapolis, will be working Thanksgiving morning and then likely all day Saturday and Sunday. He wrote:

As owner I have decided to close my shop early on Thursday to be able to attend family dinner later that day. I take on most of the work during the weekend to allow many of my staff to be gone. I recognize that this is a strain on my own family.

"And honestly," he added, "as a small business owner there really is no such thing as a holiday. Everyday is a day to try to be open for business."


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.