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On Holiday, Some Work While Others Celebrate

Time moved at a molasses-like pace for Mario Perez on Christmas Eve. Though it seemed like everyone else was shopping or enjoying a much-needed day off before Christmas, Perez was watching the clock behind the counter at the Super 7 Food Market in Norwalk. "It's like time goes so slowly," Perez said. "It felt frustrating."

Alas, Perez was one of those who had to work on the day leading up to the big December holiday. It just so happened that his name came up on the schedule for work that day. And Perez will have to work at another store for six hours on Christmas Day. "No one else is on to do it. I have to come," he said.

That means he'll have to be up earlier than he'd like to be on Saturday instead of resting or hanging out with his family and friends. But on the bright side, Perez will have a little extra money in his next paycheck, getting overtime pay for his holiday labor. That and some of the Super 7 customers brought him cards and candy in the spirit of the season. One friend came by and applauded his efforts with a hearty "he's the man" comment.

"It's OK," Perez said with a shrug and a smile. "Someone has to be here for Christmas."

Finances are why Joshua Gulandiya, 28, didn't mind keeping the shelves stocked at Broad River Wine and Spirits in Norwalk. Gulandiya said the extra money makes the workday worthwhile. "It's tough to pay the bills these days," he said.

Friday was busier than the days early in the week at the liquor store as customers stocked up on libations before the long holiday weekend, which will shutter places that sell alcohol. "Most people couldn't get the day off earlier," he said. "They waited until the last minute to see what they can spend."

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