Greedy Turkeys

by admin on November 23, 2010

Today, there will be a little departure from the blog’s usual fare so that I can climb on my soapbox to address an issue near and dear to me.

My youngest daughter has worked at an Old Navy store for the past several years and has contributed several bad customer stories to the site.   Last October, just one month before Thanksgiving,  the store manager announced to the employees that Old Navy/Gap corporate office had decided to open the stores on Thanksgiving Day and in fairness to all, everyone was required to do a minimum 2 hour shift.    The scramble was on as employees who had made travel plans had to get replacements or change their plans, single mothers who had been planning to spend their day off with children now scrambled to find babysitters, and the level of discontent was high.  My daughter got scheduled for the 5- 7pm slot.

My daughter  immediately looked up the contact information for the corporate office and called the Executive Vice President, of Human Resources Eva Sage-Gavin to politely register her complaint about this unprecedented new policy of opening on Thanksgiving Day.  To their credit, Ms. Sage-Gavin’s staff were considerate in their communications.  When Daughter asked if the corporate offices would be open as well, she was assured they would be.   The question of whether any of the 1 million+/ year salaried corporate officers would be working as well was never answered with any clarity.

We viewed the decision by Gap/Old Navy to open on Thanksgiving Day to be a bad harbinger of more retail greed in the years to follow as other retailers scrambled to be the first to compete for limited consumer dollars.  Perhaps it was inevitable once stores had begun opening their doors for business at 4 am on Black Friday.  (My daughter, incidentally, finished her 5-7pm shift, came home for a few hours and had to go right back out at 3 am to work an 8 hour shift on Black Friday. )

On November 11, 2010, Sears issued a press release announcing that its stores would be opening on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since its founding in 1893.   Sears claims it was responding to customer demand:

“Our decision to stay open on Thanksgiving Day was based on our customers’ response and desire to have an extra day to shop,” said David Friedman, SVP, Sears Holdings and president of marketing, Sears Holdings. “We are always listening to our customers to make their shopping experience easier, and now, by being open on Thanksgiving, they can start their shopping early or pick up last minute items needed for their Thanksgiving celebration.”

The press release then lists a number of specific sale items intended to lure customers to shop at Sears on Thanskgiving Day.   Is Sears catering to an existing consumer demand or creating consumer demand to be open so that shoppers can purchase the specially priced items?

If Sears, Gap and Old Navy are responding to what they claim is consumer demand, shame on you consumers who patronize these stores on Thanksgiving Day and 4 am on Black Friday.  Your need to save money will surely trample all over someone else’s desire to spend the holiday with family or friends as they are often compelled to work when they would rather not.

Why Retail Businesses Should Not Be Open on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is the most iconic of American holidays celebrated by as many as 98% of the population with a traditional meal and/or gathering with friends or family specifically to celebrate on this day regardless of what kind of meal or if they are even having a meal.  It cuts across religious, ethnic, racial, gender, economic status, rank, and generational lines to bring our nation together for one day.  It should be preserved for the unique holiday it is.

Unlike professions such a law enforcement, fire and medical whose employees work on holidays to provide needed emergency services to protect and save life, there is no pressing civil need to sell retail merchandise.  People who choose to be firemen, police or nurses and doctors do so knowing they will be called upon to leave family on holidays for the greater good of their community’s residents.  There is no redeeming social value to a retail business being open exchanging goods for dollars on a holiday.   The argument can be made that there is a negative social value as the holiday becomes nothing more than another commercialized, frenzied shopping day.

Sears survived and thrived through 117 years of recessions, panics and the Great Depression without once opening for business on Thanksgiving Day.    Chick-Fil-A restaurants are not open on holidays nor every Sunday for that matter yet their business continues to thrive and expand.  Opening for business on Thanksgiving Day is, in my opinion, a declarative statement that either the retailer is greedy or it’s indicative of poor business management that fails to be efficient and cost-effective throughout the year thus necessitating in the corporate mind the need to depend on one day’s sales to meet the sales goals.

What Can You Do?

Boycott patronizing any retail establishment on Thanksgiving Day.  Enjoy your family and friends and if you miss out on buying that awesomely cute sweater at Old Navy, at least you won’t be contributing to someone else missing out on their family time.

Shop Black Friday deals online.  Googling “Black Friday Online Deals” will yield sites like http://www.blackfriday.info/online/ offering some great deals if you sit at desk in the comfort of home or office and click the mouse a few times.   Sites like www.Southernsavers.com alerts readers to great deals all year round!  It’s one of my favorite sites!

Tomorrow’s story is a tale of Black Friday horror!

{ 135 comments… read them below or add one }

ELF November 24, 2010 at 9:21 am

Our family has a lot of shift workers. As you can imagine, it isn’t just retail, restaurant, and movie theatres that are open on many holidays. Police, fire, EMS, and hospitals never close. Members of our military are often not only working but overseas as well. IT often is a 24/7 industry because there are critical databases and sites that MUST remain up 24/7 in order for this modern world to function. Air travel doesn’t stop, so air traffic controllers and pilots still work. You get the idea. So, we do Thanksgiving and Christmas when we can all get together, and sometimes that’s not on the actual day. As one of the ones with a regular 9-5 job, I end up alone on those holidays about half the time.

While I understand Undecided’s view that it is just plain nice to know the world isn’t closed to remind you that you are spending the holiday alone, I actually prefer it to filling my day with regular stuff. I make it a “me” day. I enjoy a nice breakfast, watch a movie or read a book I’ve been longing to do, take a long bubble bath, play my computer game knowing I won’t be interrupted, etc. Sometimes I’ll hook up with other friends who find themselves alone on the holidays and we’ll have a movie marathon. (LOTR for the win!) If the weather is nice, I’ll go to a park and hike. This way, I enjoy my day without putting a burden on others that really shouldn’t be working but whose bosses think they’ll profit from it.

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Amanda November 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

In Massachusetts, retail stores, liquor stores, grocery stores, etc. are closed on Thanksgiving. Overtime on Sundays and holidays is mandatory (for retail workers, at least). Also, if you are scheduled to work more than three hours and are sent home before those three hours elapse, you are still paid for three hours.

That said, people still work on Thanksgiving. Emergency services, hospitality industry, restaurants, gas stations, public transportation, airlines, trains, busses, utility company workers, etc. all still have work. I understand that this particular store opening affects Miss Jeanne, but what about everyone else?

This post reminds me of the people who argue that voting day should be moved to Veterans’ Day because then everyone has it off and can go and vote. This always bothers me because not everyone gets holidays off from work, and giving preferential treatment to those who generally do is just unfair.

So, what about those people who have jobs which don’t take holidays? Why can’t they enjoy their workday like it was any other? Why can’t they run to the store afterwards or hit the mall on their ways home? Because someone else is more important — they have a job that lets them be home on the holidays.

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Anonymous November 24, 2010 at 9:50 am

Margaret, it is not mandatory to pay overtime to salaried employees, nor is it mandatory to pay overtime for a holiday if you haven’t already worked 40 hours that week. It’s a nice perk that many jobs offer, but not mandatory.

Yes, pretty much all Americans have Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day. I’ve never heard of anyone celebrating on another day because of schedules, though I’m sure it happens. But mostly, if you can’t make it one year, you just say you’ll catch up the next.

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samihami November 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

Margaret, yes, in US culture we have our Thanksgiving meal on the actual day, which is always a Thursday. That’s generally true of most families in the US. That being said, I like what you describe, also; it allows for more flexibility among families.

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ladycrim November 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Wow. And here I was feeling sorry for grocery store employees.

My boyfriend has to work on Thanksgiving as well, but at least his company has solid business reasons. (They’re a server company; they deal with international customers who will need them open.)

I won’t patronize a retail establishment on TG … but I do feel like taking cupcakes to the employees.

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NotCinderell November 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm

It seems to me that in this age of the Internet, when I can literally shop at 3 a.m. in my pajamas from the comfort of my own apartment, that there would be less need, not more, for stores to be open 24/7.

BTW, I do go to the movies on Christmas, but I’m Jewish. When I was in college, I worked in a group home for developmentally disabled people which was staffed 24/7/365, and I always worked a double on Christmas.

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Kendra November 24, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Miss Jeanne,
You hit my biggest pet peeve square on the head. I feel that it is selfish to go shopping on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I remember a time when ALL stores were closed for both holidays. My goodness, how did we possibly survive?!? I know!—– We planned ahead, knowing that the stores were going to be closed. Yes, sometimes we forgot something like the cranberries. But if it was something important, like butter, usually someone-grandma, aunt, neighbor-had enough to give. We were also able to entertain ourselves for a whole day without having to resort to shopping. Honestly, if you are so bored that you have to go shopping, then do something good with yourself, like volunteering with those less fortunate. Personally, I don’t shop on Black Friday. I don’t want to be responsible for some poor soul getting trampled to death just because I want to buy something. Also, not only do I not do any shopping of any kind on Thanksgiving, but I boycott year around any stores that are open on Thanksgiving. So, I will not be shopping in K’Mart, Wallmart, Sears, Old Navy, Gap or Walgreens, ever, until they change their business practices. I am writing to all of their corporate offices to tell them they have lost a customer and why. Maybe if more people did this, they might see the error of their ways.

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Miss Miaw November 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm

@theotheramber @Elizabeth and @LovleAnjel
Thank you for the clarification, Amazon.co.uk are doing a black friday sale (being an american organization) and I was confused as to what it was or why it was black – I though it was related to black monday! For religeous reasons you are unlikey to find a shop or pertrol station open on a sunday in the scottish isles, doubly so for christmas, where there is a required service (ambulances etc) you tend to find a lot of non christians working those days. For a national holiday that celebrates family, it seems harsh to make people work – people can have differing religeous views but if the holiday celebrates your USA-ness, surely that applies to everyone? In fact if I have understood the holiday correctly, it seems very un-american to force people to work it.

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Jared Bascomb November 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I just did a survey of businesses in my neighborhood and pretty much all of them will be closed on Thanksgiving. The exceptions were: Ralphs supermakert – open all day; Whole Foods Market – open until 4:00pm; 24 Hour Fitness – open until 2:00pm; deli restuarant – open all day.

As others have said, it would be nice if everyone had the day off but I find mandatory store closings (as in Sunday blue laws) to be repugnant, no matter how noble the motive. I personally don’t have to be to dinner until 4:00, so I’m planning on going to the gym in the morning and picking up the ingredients for what I need to bring – which includes fresh bead, not packaged – on my way home.

I know I sound selfish, but on the whole, I agree with Miss Jeanne’s point that there’s really no reason for most retailers to be open on Thanksgiving or to open early on Black Friday, and her point about the last-minute shift assignments is also valid. But there was an element of “This is how Thanksgiving should be celebrated by everyone” in her initial post and in some of the comments that put me (and apparently some others) off.

But here’s a topper for you all: my friend works for a small firm whose owner is very conservative politically and boasts of his pro-American patriotic beliefs. That’s all fine, except he made his employees work on the Fourth of July! :)

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turkeyday November 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Thank you admin for this article. It shows what Thanksgiving and all holidays should be about…FAMILY. The memo that Sears put out saying it was because of customer’s response is bull. They are doing it out of pure greed. Customers can wait another day to shop. Let the employees stay home with their families. If you have family that lives too far away, enjoy your day off anyway. Don’t go shopping and make someone else miss their Thanksgiving meal because you’re too miserable to be alone on the holiday. I’m single and I am staying home. I’m going to do things around that house that I haven’t had a chance to do. Store employees shouldn’t have to rearrange their holiday just because customers are too selfish to wait another day to go shopping. I hope Sears and all the other stores that are open on Thanksgiving Day fail!

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The Cat Whisperer November 25, 2010 at 12:22 am

FWIW, in some of the jobs that I’ve worked, holiday pay was time-and-a-half or even double time. There were many people who happily volunteered to work holidays because of the extra money. While I personally feel that nobody should be forced to work on a holiday if they don’t want to, I think it’s worth pointing out that some people are very well compensated for working on holidays.

From an etiquette standpoint, when I do have to go out and do something that involves somebody who is working on a holiday, I make a point of being polite and I also thank them for working on the holiday.

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Vicki November 25, 2010 at 3:59 am

@ Giles…
I am in fact, what is known in the US as a “Native American”. I hope that I am not making a wrong assumption that you include us in your “Aboriginal Americans”.
I love Thanksgiving and so does my entire family. My ancestors are the originators of many of the customs and traditions of Thanksgiving. I am proud of that.
Thanksgiving is NOT a political holiday…
It is about family and friends gathering to thank each other and their God for the bounty.

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The Cat Whisperer November 25, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Turkeyday says “I hope Sears and all the other stores that are open onThanksgiving Day fail!”

Dearest Turkeyday, I hope you realize that the failure of a store as big as Sears would involve unemployment for literally thousands of people, most of whom have nothing to do with the store’s policies, and many of whom do not have much, if any, choice of the hours/days they work. It is your wish that all of these people find themselves unable to work, without a paycheck to pay their bills? Without medical benefits they get from employment?

And of course if Sears fails, what happens to the vendors who supply Sears? The manufacturers of their merchandise, the people who service the stores themselves (people who process the accounts, custodians who clean the stores, people who do repairs, who service the registers, scanners and other electronic equipment they use, who maintain the heaters/airconditioners, service the Sears vehicles, and so forth)? Would it delight you if because Sears failed, they ended up out of work?

And how about all the people who, through mutual funds and other securities “instruments” are invested in Sears? Including institutional investors, like pension funds for teachers, firefighters, and other public service people? It would make you happy if these people suffered a direct loss if the Sears stock went to zero, or an indirect loss if the fund they are counting on to maintain their pension or their 401(k) fund loses value?

Perhaps you think that if people who depend on investments to provide for them in retirement suffer a loss of their retirement income, they could get assistance from a charity. But did you know that many charities depend on investments in stock, including stock for retailers like Sears, to provide the income they use for their relief programs? Just for example, many of the charities that were invested with Bernie Madoff literally went broke when his scheme fell apart, and many very deserving programs supported by these charities had to close their doors. That’s a lot of suffering.

It’s wrong to hope that a place a like Sears fails, because Sears isn’t an evil entity populated by demons and devils and greedy people. It’s a store that employs, directly and indirectly, people like you and me, who need a paycheck every week to put food on the table and a roof over their head. And it’s publicly owned– i.e., its stock is sold in the stock market, and is owned by literally millions of people either directly or through mutual funds that own it. It’s very likely that if you, dearest Turkeyday, have a 401(k) account or have some kind of pension fund, then YOU are an owner of Sears. So you are wishing for your own failure! How droll!

If you want to influence the policy of a place like Sears, I suggest that you write to the Consumer Services department and make your feelings known. And if you choose to not shop at a place like Sears because of their policy of being open on a holiday, that’s certainly your choice.

But next time you’re near a Sears, why not go inside, and take a look at the people who work there. They aren’t evil and they don’t wish YOU ill. But you want to put them out of work. Surely that isn’t a nice thing to wish?

…Isn’t that perhaps going against what good manners, courtesy and etiquette are all about?

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TheOtherAmber November 26, 2010 at 1:49 am

So as I sat trying to find something to watch on tv today I realized one big industry that employs a lot of people that have to work on Thanksgiving: football. The schedule was full of games being played today, each of them at big stadiums that are going to require many, many people to work taking tickets, security, concessions, etc. I’m sure none of those people gets a choice on whether or not to work on Thanksgiving.

If you’re going to say that people shouldn’t go to movies on Thanksgiving and Christmas because those workers should be able to stay home with their families, then shouldn’t that extend to other forms of entertainment and sports as well? Or does football get to be considered as an essential service?

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Bint November 26, 2010 at 8:51 am

I don’t really understand this. If you work in retail then that’s the way it is. Not nice, not always fair, but why should I thank someone for working on a holiday when it’s part of their job to do so? As others have pointed out, many other non-essential places are also open eg cinemas and football stadia. Pubs are open in some parts of the UK.

I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of these places on Christmas Day – I agree some holidays should be about spending time with family – but then that’s my preference rather than doing something right or wrong. If people want to go to the pub I don’t see why they should thank the bar-staff for being paid to be there, unless the customers personally beat the door down to make them open up.

Ultimately if you have a job where you work on a holiday, nobody else should feel guilty about you being there, or about availing themselves of your services. You’re being paid and it wasn’t their decision to make you work. The people who should be thanking you, if anyone, is your employer.

Yes, I have worked many horrendous retail jobs with awful customers, and yes, I have worked the holidays many times despite having a family. It’s never occurred to me that customers should be more grateful to me for doing my job on those days than on any other, and it doesn’t make sense to me now, to be honest, despite my holiday focus always being on family time.

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lkb November 26, 2010 at 8:54 am

TheOtherAmber:
Several years ago, my nephew, while in college, played in the marching band. The school’s football team got to play in a bowl game in another state the day after Christmas. The game was far enough away that it was impractical to have family go along. So, he had to miss all family Christmas celebrations that year to do the half-time show, which involved hours of practice for a show lasting less than 15 minutes. And, while the game was televised, the broadcast cut away from the half-time show entirely so the announcers could do the analysis.
By the way, if memory serves, that was the last Christmas for one relative in our extended family and my nephew never got to see him again. While the relative in question and my nephew were not close, what if…?
Other posters on this website have commented on how American society seems to be negating ALL holidays (including officially designated federal holidays like Thanksgiving) in favor of the bottom line. What can be done about it? I don’t know except I will do what little I can to hold the line for my own life. Sigh.

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June November 26, 2010 at 11:26 am

Personally, I’m kind of disgusted by the whole idea. American society seems to be becoming almost feudal in its treatment of workers, especially retail staff. This goes beyond etiquette–this is mindless consumerism at its most repellent.

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Sharon November 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm

@ Bint “…why should I thank someone for working on a holiday when it’s part of their job to do so?”

Um… because we are all human. Because it doesn’t cost anything but the value of the “thank you” is priceless. Because 75% of the people they are “helping” on that day are obnoxious and you might be the person who helps them keep their sanity on a very busy day.

And… if for no other reason than a selfish one, YOU might even feel better after doing so. Making someone else feel better about their day might make the shopping a little more fun.

I don’t think the employees are especting a “Thank you” and you are not obligated to say it. But, there are good many reasons to do it…

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wry exchange November 26, 2010 at 11:09 pm

My husband and I opened the family bar last night from 7-11 in case anyone wanted to escape their family for a few hours. We did it so WE had an excuse to skip dinner with the family. ;)

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Shayna November 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Personally, I thank retail staff for helping me whenever I go shopping. I don’t see why shopping on a holiday would be any different. Then again, I treat retail staff like human beings.

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noexitwounds November 27, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Ali @ 48 said: “But who goes to a theme park on Christmas day?”

I totally would. I don’t celebrate Christmas unless I’m back in my hometown as I’m neither Christian nor particularly into the consumer side either. When I’m in my hometown I do solely because my grandmother would have a fit if I didn’t show up for presents. I had no idea theme parks were open Christmas but I think I now have my Christmas day plans for this year.

Fe @ 50 said: “Seriously, how lame is it to keep some of these things open all night, every night?”

Totally not ‘lame’ (also, not a nice word to use). 2nd and 3rd shift workers (especially workers like nurses, aides, paramedics and other hospital staff, or any other job where you don’t have a standard ‘day off’) sleep during the day and rely on stores being open when they’re awake to do things like grocery shop.

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Michelle P November 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I’ve worked retail and fast food for years, and worked holidays constantly. I couldn’t stand it. I once was working on Christmas Eve at a clothing store, and we closed at six. At five minutes till there were people coming in to shop. It was so inconsiderate. I was a bank teller later, and enjoyed every holiday off. I often bring baked goods to hospitals, firehouses, and convenience stores on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There’s nothing in the world I need to buy at a retail store that bad that I have to come in on either holiday.

I lived in Germany for years. Most businesses were closed on Sundays, and virtually nothing was open on holidays or all night. We survived.

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Bint November 29, 2010 at 4:50 am

Sharon – I always thank retail staff after completing a transaction or when asked if I need help anyway (nice assumption that I don’t ‘treat retail staff like humans’ though!). Adding how grateful I am that they’re there in the holidays is OTT in my opinion. It’s their job. They aren’t going the extra mile, they’re just doing their paid job, for which they should always be shown politeness and respect.

I’m not American though, and come from a country where saying ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ is all that’s expected (or usually wanted) in a perfectly polite transaction. Having a total stranger say ‘Hello Bint, how are you today?’ when working retail would have creeped me right out, and in my country would be seen as rather odd/intrusive.

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Bint November 29, 2010 at 8:24 am

edit: the implied assumption on treating retail staf like humans is from another poster.

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Xtina November 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I can think of (and have read here) some perfectly plausible and sensible reasons both for stores to be open, and closed, on major holidays. Yes, not everyone celebrates the same way or observes such holidays, and you will always be able to find someone who might actually prefer to work on holidays for various and sundry reasons, but count me among the group who agrees that retail stores do not need to start opening on holidays just to eke out a few more consumer dollars (and that is ALL it is, no matter how they try to cloak it under the guise of “consumer demand”). I would support a boycott of such stores for that reason only, the greed aspect. I fully agree with others that corporate greed has run this country into the ground–and now they think they need to start taking away their employees’ holidays as well to make even more money?

I did my years in retail–and I am truly lucky that it was in the years prior to the advent of “Black Friday” and round-the-clock holiday hours. I remember what a “hell” working the Christmas season was like even without being open practically 24 hours a day, and my heart goes out to those who are in retail in this day and age, even though they knew what they signed up for when they went to work in that industry.

Yes, you will find people who will shop on those days, and you will find people who would be willing to work on those days. Perhaps compromise is possible (such as others have mentioned, such as seeing if there are enough volunteers to open the store on a holiday, or signing up well in advance to work a mandatory holiday). But really, let’s just draw the line and have stores/corporations be considerate of their employees SOMEWHERE along the way. I would be willing to bet good money that the executives who voted to open stores on a major holiday will be enjoying a day off on that same holiday. Is what is good for the goose not good for the gander?

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Library Diva November 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm

The thing about retail is that it’s not a career choice for the overwhelming majority of the people who work in front-lines retail. Very few people aspire to be a cashier at Sears. Most of them are in school, work it as a side job, couldn’t find a job in their own field, are older women who were forced back into the field due to divorce or early widowhood, do it for the employee discount, etc. etc. For most people, it’s a transition job. It’s the only type of employment open to people with minimal qualifications and experience.

They also don’t provide a truly essential service. No one will die if they can’t go shopping on Thanksgiving. I agree that this is corporate greed personified.

I wonder, can individual stores rebel? Just say, ‘we refuse to do this to our employees?’ What would happen if they did?

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ladycrim November 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm

BTW, my local paper had an article about this very topic:

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_16712455?IADID

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immadz December 1, 2010 at 7:40 pm

If stores weren’t making money on this enterprise, they wouldn’t stay open. They have to be making some money, which means there are some people who actually do want to shop on thanksgiving. In a time of economic hardships, I do believe that stores should make as much profit as possible.

Definitely attract retail workers with lucrative offers and a chance for over time but to boycott these stores on all holidays that you think they should be closed for essentially means they might have to shut down and all those retail workers will end up unemployed. As long as workers are given enough notice of the possibility of work and are allowed to plan around their shifts- I don’t think the store is wrong.

Also if the argument is for family people who work essential services have family as well, yet no one is taking up for them and insisting that they take of as well. In fact some of my friends in hospitals do not get overtime for thanksgiving either.

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MOB hates shopping! December 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Library Diva said “I wonder, can individual stores rebel? Just say, ‘we refuse to do this to our employees?’ What would happen if they did?”

I would applaud them and shop there as often as I could, on all of the other days they are open. I would much rather live without that can of cranberry sauce or barely discounted sweater than shop at a time that inconveniences some of the lowest paid people in the community. The only shopping I did over Thanksgiving weekend (all 4 days become the weekend) was at the grocery store on Saturday and it was only to get the bare essentials. In and out. One of my daughters shopped at a locally owned store on Saturday as a way to support local business rather than the big box chain stores. My other daughter bought one item online at a great discount, but that’s all we did.

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GroceryGirl February 10, 2011 at 12:12 am

Amen! I work for a grocery chain that actually does close for Thanksgiving Day and we get hell for it. Customers huff at me when I tell them we won’t be open, God forbid they need one more stick of butter. I love to cook and bake and I can sympathize but, really, take stock of what you have and plan accordingly!

Sadly, in the six years I’ve worked there I have seen things slowly being taken away. First, we closed at 5 pm the day before Thanksgiving (as well as Xmas Eve and New Years Eve) and did not receive nightly deliveries. Now we close at 8 and get deliveries (ensuring that we must work at least until 10pm). It’s sad to see consumer greed overtake what should be a no-brainer. So I work in a grocery store, am I less deserving of a holiday than the lawyers, doctors, CEOs and yoga moms that shop at my store?

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Liesel February 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I admit that I was appalled when stores stated they’d be open for Thanksgiving. It makes me worried that more stories and eventually other businesses will follow close behind. It’s really unfortunately, given what a wonderful holiday it is as mentioned in the OP (transverses economic, racial lines, not to mention it’s like Christmas minus the commercialization).

I lived and studied in south eastern Germany for a year while I was in college. Anyone who has lived over there knows that all businesses and retail stores (except for a few restaurants and gas stations) completely shut down on Sundays, as well as any mildly significant Catholic holiday (as the region has a cultural tie to catholicism, though practicing catholics are relatively few), New Years, etc. NOTHING stays open past 10, more often closes in the 6-9 o’clock range. Initially I hated that I couldn’t run my errands in the evenings and on Sundays, but quickly loved it. There’s no reason to abuse retail employees by making them work every day of the week, every hour of the day, and it was nice that evenings were forcibly reserved for friends, family, and the occasional bit of homework that couldn’t be completed at the library (which also closed at 8 – unheard of for an American campus main library). Sundays were a day that forced you to relax and not be materialistic and forces retailers to spend one day not thinking about the bottom line. While there are many things I love about living in the US, I do wish we would adopt this policy.

On a related note, I do admit that I have been sucked into the 4 am black friday shopping, though it’s less of a trying to get insane deals (I don’t end up buying that much), than it is a sister shopping bonding experience. My little sister and I go out while my parents retire, we get coffee, get the giggles from staying up too late, etc. So it’s a family event, though looking back I do feel guilty that it’s at the expense of the retail workers.

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Autumn July 14, 2011 at 3:28 am

I dislike that so many places are open on holidays, including where I work (a restaurant and retail shop combined). I often end up working long or double-shifts on Thanksgiving, Easter, and other holidays that used to be for family dinners and such. It is almost impossible to request time off for big holidays, even far in advance. Christmas is the only holiday that the place closes for (though to their credit, they do close at 2pm instead of 11pm on Christmas Eve). I have not had a true family holiday since 2009. My mom and I work together, so the first few years we worked there we could arrange to work the same shift time, then be off in time for family dinner or have time to do a get-together before work. That does not happen anymore, and since we are part time employees, we do not even get holiday pay.
BUT, I can somewhat understand restaurants starting to be open on holidays like Thanksgiving. (Retail-only places don’t have this kind of excuse). We have many regulars that come to eat daily or at least weekly. They are incapable or do not like to cook themselves and are often elderly. My workplace offers a special Thanksgiving turkey meal with all the fixings for a reasonable price, and I like that we can provide that kind of meal for people that otherwise would probably be eating frozen TV dinners if there wasn’t a place open to eat on a holiday.

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Sallyc September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

This is my first time to comment although I have been a long time reader. This is for Anonymous. My husband was a fire fighter and an EMT part time. I can’t even remember the last time we had Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving day, because it was so long ago that we did. We had it on what ever day he had off, which could be anywhere from Tue. to Sat. After our daughter married they wanted to spend it with his family and his family only had that Thur. off so since it didn’t realy matter to us we said ok. The way I feel about it it doesn’t matter what day you celebrate, after all its just a day. Since he has now retired we always have ours on Wed. so that they can have it with his family too. When he was working it was the same with Christmas. I remember once when he had to work both Thanksgiving and Christmas 4 years in a row. It finally fell so his shift was off for 3 years in a row and this other shift had it for 2 years. There were 3 shifts. The shift started to complain that it wasn’t fair that they had to work the second year, that they had worked it the year before. My husband told them “you didn’t have a problem with us working it 4 years in a row and that you had those years off, but now you seem to think its unfair that you have to work it 2 years in a row.” They decided not to complain about it anymore. Now he has gone in for a few hours when he had Christmas off for another man so that man that had young children could have Christmas with his family. I had no problem with him doing this at all. I can remember how I wished someone had done that for him when ours were young.

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