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Store employees say extended 'Black Friday' hours on Thanksgiving not worth it

Avery Schneider

Some local stores and malls were taking heat over the past couple of weeks as public outcry called for the boycott of shopping on Thanksgiving day. With many stores choosing to open at 6 p.m. the night before Black Friday, WBFO’s Avery Schneider went looking to find out if employees think the choice was worth it…

Kyle Chrostowski works for three different stores in the Walden Galleria mall, and pulled shifts for all of them within the span of twelve hours, starting on the night of Thanksgiving. Chrostowski is one of the many employees who worked the extended shopping hours that have caused some controversy in the clash of dollars and the dinner table. He says the hours weren’t worth it…

“It didn’t need to start as early as it did. I feel like people could have got just as much shopping in normally at midnight as they could have, not starting at 5:30 p.m.,” said Chrostowski.

The Galleria made the “naughty” list of a Facebook page called "Boycott Shopping on Thanksgiving Day," after mall management threatened many stores with fines for not opening at 6 p.m. According to Chrostowski and other employees, that threat was rescinded just this week, and replaced with encouragement to follow the early schedule. Chrostowski says he had a choice of working at all of his jobs, and that many people don’t understand how the scheduling works…

“It has a dark side, it has a light side, because some people can choose, others they just get put on the schedule,” Chrostowski says.

Chrostowski says one of his three employers was able to provide holiday pay, but his others did not. They’re smaller companies who might not be able to afford the extra cost, and have only a handful of employees to operate the stores with.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.