By Amanda Bernocco
Many students felt the effects of Hurricane Irene at their jobs. When it came to retail, many stores were forced to close. However, other retailers that sold hurricane essentials actually benefited financially from the storm.
James Rameizl, journalism major, said that he received two extra shifts, or 16 hours, overtime from his job at Home Depot before the storm.
“It was pretty damn busy. There were a lot of lines and it was very crowded,” Rameizl said. He also added that Home Depot ran out of C and D batteries, generators, flashlights, plywood, bags of sand, window well covers, tarps, water pumps and first aid kits.
Some customers were buying lady bug shaped flashlights for $25 because they were all Home Depot had left. Others bought $50 and $70 high intensity LED flashlights because nothing cheaper was in stock, Rameizl said.
“Customers are buying products almost as fast as they get here,” Steven Holmes, Fox spokesman, said.
Over 500 truckloads were sent out by Home Depot stocked with flashlights and generators to over 400 stores that were predicted to be hit by Hurricane Irene, according to foxbusiness.com.
Rameizl said that Home Depot posted signs to help deal with irate customers. Despite the upcoming hurricane, Home Depot did not give their employees any special training to help deal with emergency situations.
“Home-improvement retailers and the discounters are likely going to be the biggest beneficiaries,” said BMO Capital Markets analyst Wayne Hood to foxbusiness.com. “It’s very important for them to make sure they are in stock of those in demand items, and make sure they open back up for business as early as possible. But there is no question [that] you lose business when you close stores. Department stores and specialty retailers will likely be most hurt,” he added.
Liz Ruales, liberal arts major who works as a sales associate for Nike in the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, said that the store closed at about 3 p.m. on Saturday and didn’t reopen until Monday at 9 a.m. “We were fortunate that the storm didn’t leave any damage,” she said.
Ruales did not have to work any extra hours to make up for the ones lost during the storm, since Nike paid them as if they were working a normal shift. However, she still had many worries about the storm; Ruales’ family was called to evacuate during the hurricane.
“We don’t have any relatives on Long Island, so we didn’t have anywhere to turn to,” she said, “We decided to stay home and stay all together.” Ruales added that she felt very lucky the next morning when nothing bad happened to her family.
Like Ruales’ job in Riverhead, “The storm forced many Long Island businesses to close its doors, which resulted in losses of revenue. Seasonal businesses that rely on summer clientele, and local businesses that suffered power outages were hit the hardest in the wake of Irene’s impact,” FiOS news online announced.