Turkey + 1 = easy day

Trends: The Day After Thanksgiving is pleasant for sleeping or working, but hectic if you're a retail clerk, of course.

The workplace

November 27, 1999|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Between the mist that settled over the region and the serotonin still coursing through turkey-stuffed bodies, yesterday morning was tailor made for sleeping in.

Many people were able to do just that, thanks to the fact that the Day After Thanksgiving has practically become a holiday unto itself.

But not everyone was so lucky. Retailers, of course, were swamped. Banks were open, mail was delivered. Many offices resembled ghost towns, although some live bodies were actually seen milling about.

Mya Frye had been up late Thursday night after cooking the holiday meal for her family. But yesterday morning she was up and out the door, heading to her job as branch supervisor for Manpower Inc. on East Baltimore Street.

"Getting up today was definitely a chore," said Frye, who came in at 8 o'clock.

She said yesterday the agency, which provides a variety of staffing services, had only about 20 percent of the requests for workers that it receives in a typical day. Frye estimated that only about 10 percent to 15 percent of area offices were open. "The phones are normally jumping, so this is a good day to catch up on filing and projects," she said.

Organizing desks and going through piles of papers seemed to be the thing to do yesterday.

David M. Abbey, vice president and associate legal counsel for T. Rowe Price, was one of two attorneys -- out of the firm's 11 -- who came in to work.

"It's been very quiet" said Abbey, who brought in the traditional day-after turkey sandwich. "I'm cleaning things out and reading things that I was not able to get to earlier." He had no hard feelings about being in the office: His wife, Carolyn, took their 6-year-old twin sons to the new "Pokemon" movie. "So I think I got the better deal," he said.

Dino Mallas, vice president and senior bond trader on T. Rowe's municipal trading desk, also escaped an unwelcome task by coming in to the office.

"It's a good excuse not to go to the malls with my wife," he said of Georganne Mallas, who was hitting Towson Town Center and others on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. "I'd hate to venture where she's going."

Another bonus, he said, was the easy commute from Mount Washington down Interstate 83 and a spot on the first floor of the parking garage.

He said the day was fairly quiet, with about 30 percent of the staff in. "It's a good time to read, update records and focus on portfolio strategies," he said.

Things were a bit quieter today on the waterfront, too.

Rukert Terminals Corp., on Clinton Street, was closed Thursday. But yesterday workers were unloading road salt and iron, although about 20 percent to 25 percent of them took the day off.

"Everybody's in a good mood, it's not a stressful day," said chief executive Norman G. Rukert Jr.

Some offices were operating in almost-typical fashion.

Greg Gunning, a trader on the Nasdaq desk at Ferris Baker Watts, said five of the six traders in his section were at work yesterday. The office was short a few people, he said, but overall it was "business as usual."

"I feel fine about [going to work], it's my livelihood," he said. "I love work; I don't feel shortchanged."

Gunning planned to leave at 2 p.m., an hour after the markets closed.

"I'm going to go relax on my couch," he said. "I plan to make an imprint of my body on it and watch whatever football and basketball games haven't already been played."

Richard O'Brien, head of fixed-income trading at Folger Nolan Douglas Inc. in Hunt Valley, was also at peace with going to the office yesterday. He hasn't taken that day off in decades.

"About 20 years ago I took off to go duck hunting," he said.

Folger Nolan is located in the four-building Executive Plaza office park in Hunt Valley -- virtually deserted yesterday, he said. O'Brien estimated only about 10 percent of the offices were in use. His has only four people, and three worked yesterday.

"Bond activity is about a tenth of what it would be on a normal day," he said.

On the bright side, casual dress was the norm. O'Brien usually wears a suit and tie to work but yesterday donned corduroy pants and a polo shirt.

The bond market closed at 2 p.m. and O'Brien said his office was closing promptly at 2: 01.

He planned to run an errand then head home, where a turkey sandwich was waiting for him, to do some woodworking. He's making Beanie Baby towers so his three granddaughters can display their collections.

"What can I say?" he asked. "It's a quiet day."

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