The Shocking Truth About 'Having to Work on Black Friday'

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Every year from family and friends on Thanksgiving Day I had to hear "I can't believe you have to work tomorrow. I'm off the entire weekend!" they'd croon. I hated it. I knew that they would be in various stages of enjoyment of the day after the holiday; shopping, relaxing and eating more of those great tasting leftovers. I sighed. And went into the place where I worked, the spa.

All employees from sectors like retail, restaurants, hotels, florists and of course the spa industry deal with this each year. We're all in service, we chose to be and therefore must deliver. It takes a special person to be in the service industry. It's a people business. But we do have a life. And working just to work - is not our favorite thing. So what motivates us? Well, money helps.

However, I also knew that Black Friday and Small Business Saturday were heavy money making days. Unlike other industries where only salaries are paid, many of us in the spa industry make our money based upon commissions. We also hopefully get tips. And we also refer products to our clients after they receive services. If they buy them, we earn commissions. In short we have to engage - it's a people business.

Thankfully (hey it's the holidays) I made big bucks on the twelve or thirteen Black Fridays I worked. This was in part because I could pinpoint exactly what my customers needed. I listened. I engaged. And as a result I would sell my butt off. I knew that at the end of the day I would have an abundance of tips, more bookings and the next paycheck would be generous. And that helped take the sting out of all of the visions of cranberry sauce and turkey that were still dancing in my head in the treatment room.

Which leads me to a question for all you spa managers out there. How are your people feeling as they work on Black Friday? They probably won't tell you because they're scared. They probably need the hours. But if you're not teaching them how to engage with their clients and sell the products no one is winning; not you or them or your guests.

This means their Black Friday earnings will look identical to last Friday and next Friday's. As we say in Bangkok "same-same". Unless you can get them to move the products sitting on your shelves, or the ones used on your customer's bodies or the ones that you just spent thousands for to fill your spas for the upcoming holiday, they're probably also feeling resentful.

Obviously it's too late to recoup losses from Black Friday. But Christmas is still coming. What are you going to do?