By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
For some, Monday is no holiday
Many must work while others play
Julia Alton listens as server Nikki Duff, background, calls out an order Tuesday at the Canton Road Waffle House. - photo by Jim Dean
While millions of workers will celebrate Labor Day at home, Julia Alton will be at the house — Waffle House.

“It’s mandatory that we work on all the holidays, all the associates and all the cooks,” said Alton, who started with the company 10 years ago.

“Everyone needs to work the holidays to make sure that ... whatever volume we need to handle, it’s taken care of, because those are our busiest days.”

Alton and her Waffle House brethren aren’t alone in having to work on the national holiday that celebrates the achievement of American workers.

Nurses, public safety personnel, movie theater staff and many retail store employees will also be hard at work.

Cumming Police Officer Ken Hayes said those whose shift falls on a holiday “get stuck with it.”

“My wife’s usually off on Labor Day, so I don’t get to be with her,” Hayes said. “Being away from your family is the hardest part.”

There are worse holidays to work, he said, like Christmas, but “the way the economy’s got, every day has gotten a little busier.”

“Your holidays, most holidays in the mornings are kind of quiet, but it gets a little busier toward lunch and toward the evening,” he said.

Wal-Mart employee Melissa Finnegan said she’s “very excited” to be working on Labor Day. This is her first month at the store in Cumming, where she is training to be a manager.

“We are actually taking full advantage of the Labor Day coming up,” she said. “We know it’s the last fun weekend for everybody, so we have the store really packed out with great deals.”

But Finnegan said she is most excited about a special Saturday event, when the store will host a cookout to benefit breast cancer awareness.

“We’ll have dunk tanks with some local celebs and all kinds of fun things going on for the family and kids,” she said. “We’ll just be having fun all weekend long.”

Finnegan said she expects the store to be busy all day, with a big rush in the morning as a result of people getting ready for their big day.

“But we’ll have the staff to back it up and give that great customer service.”

Hayes, who has been with the city for four years, will be working dispatch Monday. If he wasn’t working, “I’d probably be in the woods.”

“I’d be getting ready for deer season,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we’re going this weekend, me and my son and his wife ... But we’ll be coming back Sunday since I’m working Monday.”

If his wife didn’t have to work Friday, and he didn’t have to work Monday, “more than likely, we would have gone off somewhere, just the two of us,” Hayes said.

For Alton, who got married in July, holiday work is “just part of the job.”

“I’m sure if I had kids it might be a little more different ... but there’s always a way you can work around it,” she said.

“Anybody that knows me as far as how many years I’ve been with Waffle House, they understand that I will be working holidays. So we’ll just plan it for later in the day or things of that nature.”

Waffle House is hopping on Labor Day, Alton said. That’s why she doesn’t mind the holiday work.

“Honestly, as a server, you want to work the holidays because those are your best money days,” she said. “... It really benefits customers and us for everybody to be here on holidays.”