Playing hooky for inauguration

Jeremy Hobson Jan 20, 2009

Playing hooky for inauguration

Jeremy Hobson Jan 20, 2009


KAI RYSSDAL: Economists will tell you that jobs are the way back to that prosperity. Even though this was a workday, today’s historic inauguration was must-see TV for millions of people.

Lots of Americans took matters into their own hands and took the day off. Either with vacation or with a sick day, or at least a long lunch break.

Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson was working today. He spent the morning in Harlem with a crowd watching the festivities.

JEREMY HOBSON: That was the sound from the crowd on 125th street when the Jumbotron showed President Obama emerging for the first time. And many of those cheers were coming from people who were playing hooky.

William James didn’t ask for the day off. He he just took it.

WILLIAM JAMES: I called out sick. I said I’m sick and I wanted to come and watch this. I took off the day. Hopefully, they’re not listening.

Rini Hunter was honest about her absence. She’s in the real estate business.

Rini Hunter: Had some big time clients this morning, but I told them I have to watch the inauguration. And they were just fine with it.

Some didn’t have to ask permission, like Kevin Wilson. He’s the boss of a tattoo parlor.

HOBSON: And you just gave everybody the day off work?

KEVIN WILSON: No, actually everybody’s supposed to be there. But since I’m the boss, I can kind of let it slide. So, uh, what am I gonna do, fire myself?

Getting fired wasn’t a concern for Barbara Johnson. She just got lucky.

BARBARA JOHNSON: Well, it just so happened that Mondays and Tuesdays, I just got those days Thursday. And I’m like, “That’s cool, because this is an historical event. Nobody wants to miss this.

Across the street from the Jumbotron, Jerry Kunjar, the boss of a men’s clothing store, was stocking the shelves. He says no employees asked for the day off.

Jerry Kunjar: I guess when it comes to 12 o’clock, I guess I’m going to have to control them, you know?

HOBSON: Let me ask you this: If they had asked for the day off, would you have given it to them?

KUNJAR: I, yeah, I would have worked it out. A few people that asked for it would have got the day off, yeah.

Clear across town in the West Village, Paul Worthington played nice boss. Some of his employees went to Washington to watch in person.

PAUL WORTHINGTON: Only a couple that I’m aware of, but I’m sure there may be others that I’m not aware of.

For those that did stay and work there was pizza, soda, and a big-screen TV.

WORTHINGTON: Everybody got out of their seats and walked over and stood in front and gave a big round of applause when he was sworn in.

But the TV was off long before the parade started. And it was back to work.

In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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