20 November 2013

About this thing going around:

If you have ever gone out to eat on Thanksgiving—
Gone to a movie on Thanksgiving—
Run to the grocery store for that one dinner thing you forgot—
Gotten gas on your way to see family on Thanksgiving—
Stayed in a hotel on Thanksgiving—
Made a phone call on Thanksgiving—
Watched TV, listened to the radio, used the Internet on Thanksgiving—

If you’ve ever done any of that on Thanksgiving, then you kinda need to stop being so self-righteous about retail stores being open and grousing how you're protecting the holiday for other people and preserving their right to have the day with their families. Because if you’ve done any of those—or any of a plethora of other things—you’re a hypocrite. Every single one of those requires that someone else works on Thanksgiving.

Theaters don’t open and the movies don’t run on magic. Grocery and convenience stores and gas stations all have to be staffed by living, breathing people. All those entertainment things you use in your own home—your phone, your TV, your Internet, the electricity that powers them all—are all run by someone who is at work.

Here’s the thing about the holiday shopping season: it traditionally starts the day after Thanksgiving, with Black Friday insanity. The problem with that is this year, Thanksgiving is several days later than usual, which seriously cuts into revenue generated.

For a lot of businesses, the revenue made during the holiday shopping season is make-or-break; with fewer days to make those sales, they have fewer opportunities to make moneymoney that in turn funds the economy and keeps people working.

So yes, businesses are going to open on Thanksgiving this year because the season is so shortened, so that they have the chance to make the money that keeps people working. Is it greed? Partly. Largely, it's a business decision.

It’s not a crime. It’s not a mortal sin. It’s the reality of business, and the reality of what creates jobs.

And you can flip the whole thing over to look at the other side, too: not everyone wants to sit at home on Thanksgiving, dealing with relatives they don’t really like. Not everyone HAS family to spend the day with. Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. And a whole lot of people like working on it because it means holiday pay, 8-10 hours of pay and time and a half or better. For some it means much bigger tips than on other days. That holiday pay, the large tips, that might mean that their kids get more for Christmas than disappointment.

It’s not a cut and dried issue. Stay home if you want; go out if you want. But don’t pretend that it’s such a horrible thing if Macy’s is open and selling overpriced jeans or if Denny’s is open feeding people who don’t want to cook. Chances are, you’ve contributed to someone else working on Thanksgiving as it is…and the outcry is actually kind of absurd.


Jane2 said...

Amen, Amen, Amen.

las794 said...

Truthiness stomps self-righteousness.

julier said...

Spot on Karen. I am one that likes to work on Holidays for the extra pay. And other places that needs to be open are hospitals, police, fire and other emergency workers.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

For many of those places, workers are able to chose whether to work and get the extra money or stay home with family. So long as that is offered to any of the retail places, I'm fine with that. My boss was always very generous about making sure anyone who didn't want to work Christmas Eve or the day after was able to do so--even if they were "only Christmas hires".

You can do things like that and be sane. I worked on the crisis phone lines for years on holidays because I lived alone and my family wasn't close. Also, healthcare providers often get their holidays rotated. Again, all sorts of potential ways out.

Oh I won't be shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday or probably any other day because a mall is too darned far to drive and it's so much easier to sit on my bum and order online. Which I've mostly already done...

debzy said...

Brilliant, as always.

julier said...

Our family used to do other things instead of eating on Thanksgiving. If the weather cooperated we would go skiing and the slopes wouldn't be crowded and we still celebrated together.

Robyn Harton said...

Amen. Self-righteous is so very often self-wrong. This is no different.

G.G. Mueller said...

And that's the twooff!

Victoria Henderson said...

I have notoriously horrible holidays, since my 3rd birthday every single one has gone straight to hell, so when I was working in the public eye, I *loved* working holidays. Got me away from those whackadoos in my family with a legit get out jail free card.

Anonymous said...

And a whole lot of people like working on it because it means holiday pay, 8-10 hours of pay and time and a half or better.

It wouldn't bother me so much if people actually were getting holiday pay, but a lot of retailers have stopped doing that, so many of the people working retail today are just getting straight time. Depending on the state you're in, they may not even get overtime for working 10 hours if they're not scheduled for more than 40 hours in that week.

The company regards it as just another Thursday, pay-wise, and if the employee doesn't want to work that day, tough shit. That's what I refuse to support.

- Mnemosyne