Tuesday, November 4, 2014

To Shop on Thanksgiving or Not

So here's the thing. It's that time of year when everyone gets all up in a tizzy about whether or not to shop on Thanksgiving and it really irritates me.

I'm a huge black Friday shopper. I love looking through the ads the night before and planning out where we want to spend our time and effort. I love waking up early, trying to find a good parking spot, and the thrill of the hunt. Last year was the first time ever that I actually did some shopping on Thanksgiving. However, it was at 10pm at night when most people were sleeping. Before you hit the send button on your hate mail, hear me out.

Absolutely no one is forcing anyone to shop. And on the same note, no one's really being forced to work. Because guess what, when you're in the retail industry, holiday shopping is just the nature of the beast. Most stores are also open on Christmas Eve - some even Christmas DAY -  yet where's the boycott for that holiday? Stores are also open on Easter, and the 4th of July - yet where's the boycott for them? I would venture to say that almost everyone at some point or another in their lifetime has had to work a holiday (including myself).

Those people you're complaining about that don't get to spend the holiday with their family? I'm willing to bet not all of them are agreeing with your complaints. Employees that work on holidays get paid time and half. And maybe (emphasis on the maybe) that extra money is what allows them to have a Christmas with their family. Whether it's for a new bike for their kiddo, or a plane ticket home to actually be with their family. Maybe those people are just thankful they have a job, in a time where some people don't have that luxury.

How many people are standing up for hospital workers? And for policemen (and women), firemen (and women)? You do know they don't all get Thanksgiving off right? And yes I'm fully aware that there's a slight difference between a doctor and a retail store employee. But the point is still the same.

What about gas stations and fast food workers? There have been plenty of times my family has stopped in Bethany at McDonald's on the way to Iowa and they were there working, and no one is standing up for them.

What about grocery stores? I'm willing to bet that at some point or another you or someone in your family forgot the milk, or cranberry sauce, or ran out of butter, or crescent rolls and had to run to the store on Thanksgiving to pick some up.

What about the news anchors? Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Macy's Day Parade - how about all those people? Not home with their families either.

Most of the time employees get to choose which holiday they want to work - Thanksgiving or Christmas. And you don't see them throwing a hissy fit. And if they are, they're in the wrong line of work.

What about volunteers? Should we shut down the food kitchens that allow people to eat a hot meal on Thanksgiving when otherwise they might not eat at all?

What about the men and women in the military? They might miss every single holiday for years. But we all know that's what they signed up for, to serve our country and often times that means heading overseas and missing out on family time.

I get it. It's all about consumerism. It's just because it's about people shopping. But there are far bigger battles we could fight in this world than this one. It would literally be impossible for every single person in this country to be able to stay home with their family on Thanksgiving. You don't want to shop? Then don't.

I'm not saying I agree with stores opening, or not. Honestly I don't really believe there's a right answer. But I do believe we could direct all this energy towards something better. Ya know like solving world hunger, or curing cancer.


Anonymous said...

I see your point, but as someone who has worked on Black Friday, I disagree. First of all, you don't get time-and-a-half for Black Friday unless you actually work a shift on Thanksgiving. Second of all, employees (at least where I worked) are forced to work. Sure doctors, firefighters, etc. are forced to work, too, but those jobs relate to needs, not wants. Nobody *needs* to shop on a holiday. You're right that lots of retail workers probably don't mind working on Thanksgiving/Black Friday, but there are also many who do.

The Thibault Fam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Thibault Fam said...

Yes, but it's also the nature of retail. No one becomes a Dr. and then says hey hey hey I didn't sign up to be on call all the time! They know what they're getting into. I've worked in retail for over 10 years, and unfortunately holiday time = busy time. Why is Thanksgiving different than Christmas or Easter or the 4th of July? My main point is that the retail stores are not forcing people to shop. That's like saying cookies forced you to get fat. Just because it's available doesn't mean people have to participate. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer - just throwing fuel on the fire.