Retail Workers: You’re Not Alone If You Work Thanksgiving- November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2014 collage

I keep seeing all these posts on my Facebook and Twitter news feeds saying things like, “Boycott Thanksgiving Shopping!” or “Big Retailer X is opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Show them that is not okay!”

Um. Alright. To me, if you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, don’t. Why the fuss? Why do you care if others do? What, you’re concerned for the religious sanctity of a secular national holiday like Thanksgiving?

I come from a family that shops on Black Friday. We are not the extreme crazies who crawl over children and old ladies in wheelchairs at 4:00 am to save $50 on a Playstation. We’re not those assholes. But, I join my extended family at the mall for some shopping and lunch after we draw our cousin’s name. You know, the cousin we shop for that year.

One year my dad gave each group of shoppers one of his high tech Walkie-Talkies. This was before smart phones and group texts. They were color-coded and we had code names. If you had the yellow Walkie-Talkie you were “Yellow Bird.” There was “Green Hornet,” “Blue Bird” and “Black Bear.” This was how we stayed in touch through the crowded mall. We could find the lunch spot with the shortest line, or notify everyone if they found the sweater for Grandma at the best price. My dad required us to use the code names, say “over” and “over and out.” Yes, that story about my family is absolutely true.

I understand why everyone is not all about Black Friday. When people misbehave, it’s a ridiculous display of everything that is wrong with capitalism. I get it.

I heard about the petition calling for Kmart workers to get time off at Thanksgiving. I understand they’re opening at 6am on Thanksgiving Day and remaining open for 42 hours. That’s a lot, but come on! Hospitals are open all the time. Those people want to take off, but may not be able to.

While I’m not working this year, in my adult life I have worked more Thanksgiving weekends than I have had them off. I worked at two different retail stores in college. Immediately after college I was in TV news and I knew that was part of the job. I can’t tell you how many Thanksgiving mornings I covered the local rescue mission’s turkey dinner or the Turkey 5K. If you get a job as a Sales Associate at Best Buy, chances are, your Thanksgiving is cut short because you gotta be in the store by midnight. That’s part of the job. I was always told, “If you want holidays off, get a job and the bank or the Post Office.” You know who else works Thanksgiving? LOTS OF PEOPLE! Including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Law enforcement
  • EMT
  • Firefighters (You know some idiot will catch their house on fire because of a turkey fryer.)
  • News people (Someone has to cover the house fires.)
  • The Detroit Lions
  • Whatever NFL team is beating the Lions.
  • Al Roker with his giant scissors.
  • The other hosts and crew of the Today Show. (Somebody has to put on the Macy’s parade.)
  • The up-and-coming pop star on the Carvel float singing “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” in the parade.

I could go on and on. Kmart employees, you are not alone. Lots of people work on Thanksgiving. This petition and all this drama is making news because stores announced they are opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day. People having to work on Thanksgiving is not new. Get your holiday hours, bitch to your coworkers and survive. Yay capitalism! Happy Holidays!

 

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One Response to “Retail Workers: You’re Not Alone If You Work Thanksgiving- November 21, 2014”

  1. Heather says:

    I have to disagree! Most of the people other people on the list are working on Thanksgiving to deliver babies, save lives, protect the public, and/or are hugely compensated for their sacrifice (i.e the football players and Today show hosts). Missing Thanksgiving with your family to make minimum wage, or barely more, ringing up discounted toys for bargain hunters… not quite the same. People can at least wait until midnight to buy the discounted Christmas hype!

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