Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of uproar over retail stores being open on Thanksgiving Day. There is a Facebook page devoted to it, and this one of many articles blasting the evil retailers for being open on a holiday. You say workers should be home with their families, it’s disgusting, greedy, and every negative connotation you can think of.
I don’t agree.
People crying out “Boycott these stores and don’t shop there on Thanksgiving Day” are about as naive as the people that think if everyone stays away from the gas pumps for one day that gas prices will fall. Just because you wait a day or two to shop at your local Wal-Mart or Target store won’t hurt them one bit. They are still getting their money from you. And judging from the way that the stores looked Thursday evening and the dozens of TVs I saw being pushed through the Target checkout lanes, I would say those retailers will be pretty darn happy with their sales.
When you pledged to not shop on Thanksgiving, did you keep the television turned off all day, too? If you’re going to attack retailers being open on Thanksgiving, are you also going to blast the television stations for airing their news programs? Are you going to boycott the newspapers for making their employees work to get the papers out? What about gas stations? I’m pretty sure your local Casey’s didn’t sell too many pizzas on Thursday, but I bet they had someone working in case they got an order. What about all of the football games on television that day? Did you watch them, or boycott them because lots of people had to work to make those games happen– parking attendants, ticket takers, custodians, concession workers, and of course the players and coaches. And I can guarantee lots of profits were made from those games. College football players missed Thanksgiving with their families because they had a game, but no one cries out injustice– and these kids weren’t even getting paid.
What about all of the restaurants and grocery stores open on Thanksgiving Day? They all made profits, but no one seemed to demand we boycott them. How about airline pilots, flight attendants and truck drivers — all of whom work for companies turning a profit by making their employees work on a holiday.
Did you go see a movie on Thanksgiving Day? Or did you boycott all of them too?
I had the luxury of having Thanksgiving Day off of work — at both of my jobs. But the company I work for part-time WAS open, and employees volunteered to work for a pretty darn nice hourly wage. What I found so funny was customers coming in, lamenting to the cashiers “I can’t believe you guys are open today” or “It’s too bad they make you guys work today on a holiday… what a shame” as we’d pass their last-minute pumpkin pie, bottle of wine, and tub of butter across the scanner, because they forgot things from their shopping list days prior. What would they all have done if the stores WEREN’T open?
Did you stop at a Starbucks, Caribou Coffee or Dunkin Donuts before getting on the interstate to head to Grandma’s house? These are more for-profit companies making money on a holiday. Did you forego the coffee?
People that take jobs in the retail industry or service industry go into knowing that the schedule will vary, and working holidays is a very real possibility. No one complains about business being open on New Years Eve, July 4th, Labor Day, or Memorial Day. YOUR Holiday is going to be what YOU make of it. If you want to spend the day home with your family, so be it. If you want to get together with your family members and do some shopping, that’s great too.
But if you don’t like a store being open on a certain day, you certainly don’t have to shop there. But just remember to treat all businesses equally– which would include also boycotting the ones that are a convenience to you on a holiday.
Thanksgiving is not the only day you can be thankful. Being thankful can (and should) happen on every day of the year.