Fresno State students said they are busier than ever this Thanksgiving weekend working early Black Friday shifts instead of spending time with family.
“It’s kind of sad,” said sophomore Eeman Fakira. “All these stores are extending their sales, so more people need to work. And who works for minimum wage? Students.”
More stores than ever, including JCPenney, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Target, are opening Thanksgiving evening instead of Friday morning.
Charnell Heaven, a senior on campus, said that though she’s worked Black Friday shifts before, she’s never worked as much as she is scheduled to this year.
“I work at JCPenney,” she said. “Thankfully, I have Thanksgiving off. But I have Friday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then I go back at 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday morning. I’m not used to those kinds of hours.”
Heaven said she is still not sure how she is going to balance sleep, homework and family time, but she’ll try her best to manage.
She said her biggest worry about working on Black Friday is the crowds.
“There are just too many customers,” she said. “I don’t like big crowds, but I’ve got to make money. It’s just crazy. People are rushing everywhere. There’s no room to walk. They always have questions, which is fine, but it’s hard to answer because you’ll have 10 other people talking to you at once. It’s a lot.”
Ghada Barakat works at a Starbucks inside of Target when she’s not on campus, studying for her business classes. She said this year, Black Friday is going to be “crazy” at Starbucks.
“There will be people waiting in line for the Target sales, and they’ll have family members start waiting in line for Starbucks as well,” she said. “So the lines get really, really long. Because Target opens on Thanksgiving day, everyone’s going to be really tired and need their coffee.”
Barakat said she hopes stores won’t continue the trend of opening on Thanksgiving day in coming years.
“It’s kind of sad when they open earlier and earlier for Black Friday,” she said. “It’s like, sooner or later there won’t be Thanksgiving.”
And for Barakat’s family, that may just be the case. Barakat said Black Friday work shifts will certainly cut into Thanksgiving family time at her house.
“Usually, our family would stay home all day during Thanksgiving,” Barakat said. “But, now that places are open, all of my siblings are working. Stores give that incentive of working time-and-a-half for working certain hours, so everyone will take that.”
Fakira is working at Walgreens this Thanksgiving weekend. She said that working in retail gives her a completely different view of Black Friday than she used to have when she was just a shopper.
“When you’re a shopper, it’s fun,” Fakira said. “But working it is very stressful. Things become messy. People get rude and impatient during holiday shopping.”
Heaven said the best advice she can give to students working during Thanksgiving weekend is simple.
“Good luck,” she said. “All of us students have to make money somehow, and Black Friday is just something that’s got to happen.”