Chuseok is Korean Thanksgiving and for the year 2017 most people get literally 10 days off! Like amazing right?! Well, if you were to ask me in 2011, then I would say, “Best thing ever! I get paid vacation and I can visit another country!” Well, that’s when I was working for a public school teaching as a Native English teacher in Seoul, South Korea. But what about now? Nope, not for me, not anymore. I rather it just be normal working days.
I no longer am an employee of a company, but I do believe employees of businesses do deserve a break, but 10 days off for most companies is not really a good thing for the Korean economy. It only benefits the places where people go during Chuseok and if anything, a lot of the small businesses suffer.
My business, Flower Gift Korea actually lost some sales because of Chuseok. We had to provide refunds because people wanted something specific delivered on a specific day and we had no way of accessing the materials needed to create the products. But at the same time, this also gave us a chance to just rest for a few days. But my wife and I would have rather fulfilled those orders because we actually enjoy operating our small business in Seoul, South Korea.
I personally don’t need an extra long vacation because I love building my flower business. If anything, the Chuseok holiday has hurt my business because the flower market was closed for 4 full days because of the Chuseok holiday, which is the longest stretch of days off the flower market has had all year! That sucks for me because I didn’t have access to flowers, and another thing that really hurt our business was that our delivery partner was taking the full 10 days off! My business makes a lot of the flower deliveries, but we rely on a bigger delivery company to help us with our non-flower deliveries. But they aren’t operating until October 10th and once they do start operating, a lot of the deliveries they will make will be delayed because of all of the orders that have been piling up since the holiday started. So we have to make some of the far deliveries ourself and some deliveries that are further away, like Busan or Daegu, have to be postponed or rejected because it is just too much for us to physically travel that far.
I don’t wait for the weekend or hope for a vacation because my wife and I take mini vacations all the time. Since our store is officially “hourless“, we can decide to go somewhere nice for the day, but as long as we fulfill our orders. Flower Gift Korea isn’t totally systemized and work free, but we are able to use a lot of the time we have freely. Of course there are times where we are stuck at our flower shop preparing and making sure the deliveries are made, but we are more than okay with that. The busier we are, the more money we are making, which is a great thing! The thing with my business is that most of our orders are made on our website while we are asleep because most of our orders are placed by people living in the US. So we potentially make sales in our sleep. But we also have to put in work because we physically make most of our products. But we are so happy to get orders. In other words, it doesn’t feel like work to us most of the time and when we don’t have any more orders for the day to fulfill, we can choose to use the remaining time of the day to do whatever we want. Of course a lot of the times we choose to create more content, add new products, create social media posts, and write blog posts. But there are also times where were like, “today is a nice day, I want to go to a patio and have an iced americano”. And this one freedom brings joy to my heart like you wouldn’t believe.
So for me and my business, Chuseok is way too long and it does not help my business at all. It may help some small restaurants in busy areas or certain areas where a lot of people like to visit during a holiday, but not me. Chuseok is too long and I really don’t have much to look forward to when it comes to holidays. Maybe Christmas, because that’s a time where people buy each other a lot of presents, but the busiest time for us is Valentines Day, which is not even a holiday! I also don’t look forward to Fridays because everyday is like a Friday to me. I rather there be no weekends so I can continually build my business. That way I have a chance of receiving more orders because the flower market closes on Sundays and a lot of people aren’t working at the office on the weekends. I need people to be working at an office, so their friends and family can surprise with some flowers and chocolates on a busy work day.
I don’t know how you feel about the long Chuseok holiday, but I could do without it.