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Seasonal Holiday Workers Surprised When Told They Have To Work The Holidays

, , , , , | Working | November 7, 2018

(It’s the end of September and the store where I work starts taking applications for temporary seasonal workers. My boyfriend and I are out on a double date with his best friend and his new girlfriend, when the topic of work comes up and I casually mention this fact. As it turns out, the new girlfriend has never held a job before, is looking to get a bit of experience, and asks if I could get her an application. The next day, I pick up an application after my shift is over and head back to the apartment my boyfriend and I share to find that his best friend and his girlfriend have stopped by for an impromptu video game night. I hand her the application, instruct her to fill it out, and head over to the store the next day to turn it in. As she isn’t interested in video games like the rest of us, she spends the evening filling out the application. I think nothing more of it until she has a question.)

Girlfriend: “So, what do I do about time off requests?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Girlfriend: “I have plans to go back to my parents for the holidays this year. They’ve already bought the plane tickets, so I can’t exactly cancel on them. They’d understand, right?”

Me: “I’m sure they’d understand, but as you’re applying for temporary seasonal work, how long you’ll be gone may affect their decision to consider you. If it’s only for a couple of days for Christmas or something, you might be fine, but I would certainly bring it up if you get called for an interview.”

Girlfriend: “It’s… not exactly for a couple of days.”

(It turns out this girl is planning on going back home for a week for Thanksgiving, meaning she won’t be available to work Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday. She is also planning to go home for two weeks for Christmas and New Year’s, meaning she won’t be around for the last couple of shopping days before Christmas and any post-holiday sales or returns. Everyone knows those are the busiest times in retail, and it is because of the increase in business that stores hire temporary seasonal employees. I want to be tactful, but I end up blurting out the obvious.)

Me: “So, what you’re saying is you’ll be away for Thanksgiving Day as well as Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and you’ll be gone right before and after Christmas, which are always super busy?”

Girlfriend: “Well, yeah, but I’m fine with that. I’ve seen the videos, and I’ve heard the horror stories about Black Friday, and you’ve got to be crazy if you think I’d agree to work on a day like that for minimum wage.”

Me: *dumbfounded* “I should probably tell you that the job only lasts between ten to eleven weeks. If you’re already planning on being gone for three of those weeks, and those three weeks happen to be during the busiest times of the season, there’s probably a good chance they won’t consider you. I’m not saying you need to change your plans or anything, but I don’t want you to be surprised if you don’t get a call back for an interview. And that’s not just at [Store where I work]; that’s any retailer looking for temporary seasonal help.”

(The girlfriend submitted her application, anyway. No surprise that she didn’t get a call back for an interview.)

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