Most people shared a meal with family and friends and gave thanks at some point Thursday. Some just needed to work first.
“You don’t have a choice because you need money,” said Vitiel Cenat, 47, a Galloway resident and Pleasantville taxi driver.
With many businesses open on Thanksgiving, the holiday passed as a regular day for many workers, although Cenat, like many others, said that they planned to mark Thanksgiving after work by sharing meals with family and friends.
Seung Pak, 55, of Mays Landing, and his wife planned to staff their two New Wave cell phone stores in Atlantic City and Pleasantville until their son arrived from New York, at which point they would have their meal.
“That’s very important that family is together,” Pak said.
In the meantime, customers still needed prepaid cell phones, he said. Christmas and New Year’s Day are the only two holidays on which the store closes, although in the past, Pak said, he occasionally opened the store on New Year’s Day.
“I take care of my customers,” he said.
With casinos and many businesses open, the Atlantic City Boardwalk felt more like a regular work day than a holiday for many. Although some, such as push cart worker M.D. Rahman, capitalized on the holiday by announcing to potential customers, “Half price for Thanksgiving.”
Business was slow at Steel’s Fudge, although in prior years, Thanksgiving was busy in the store, according to clerk Anna Tallerova, 25, of Atlantic City.
“This time of year, it’s slow anyway,” she said.
Tallerova, a native of Russia, said she had her first American Thanksgiving meal last year. This year, her fiance’s family invited her over, and she intended to head over there when her shift ended.
Merchant Asif Pasha, 34, of Ventnor, who opened his One Stop shop for business Thursday morning, said he couldn’t afford to not be open on the holiday, even if he wasn’t expecting to make much money.
“Thanksgiving is never busy because people don’t party that long,” he said. “We try to open for a little bit.”
Boardwalk businesses were still feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy, although Pasha said it was better than last year when the casino industry shut down during Hurricane Irene at the height of the tourist season in August. This year, merchants were able to take advantage of the bulk of the busy season.
“Now, we are waiting for summer,” he said.
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