Save Thanksgiving! A rant about America’s retail industry

I’m a little upset with my employer right now.

About two weeks ago, we were given the notice that our stores would be opening at 8:00pm on Thanksgiving night. Even worse, I found out about it through an article on CNN, not through the usual corporate Email that is sent to the store’s management. You’d think they’d have the decency to tell the employees first, and not the national media, but that is just another testament to their greed. They care more about letting America know their plans than their employees.

Yeah, I’m salty about this, ok?! What happened to Black Friday? Why has it quickly become Black Thursday? When I first started working in retail, 13 years ago, Black Friday started at 6:00am. We were always one of the first stores to open. A few years later it became 5:00am, then 4:00am, and now 8:00pm on Thanksgiving and staying open overnight through 10:00pm on the following day. 26 straight hours of Americans pushing and shoving each other to save $5 on a sweater (don’t get me started on how rude some customer’s can be on Black Friday. You had to wait in line for 10 mintues? Get over yourself. You chose to join in this madness. Don’t blame us for your stupidity. Didn’t you know you could get most of these things online for even cheaper on Cyber Monday? And you could’ve done so on your couch, in your pajamas, with a cup of coffee.).

I know that many other folks have to work on Holidays. Those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, emergency personnel such as police and fire fighters… but these are essential jobs that are 100% necessary on any given day of the year. I know I’m not the only one that feels for these folks on holidays, and appreciates their services.

Retail, however, IS NOT an essential function on a holiday. Why is it so important that retailers open a few hours earlier every year? I know it starts with one company trying to beat out the competition and others following suit to stay competitive and not lose sales to these other stores. If no one opened on Thanksgiving night, this wouldn’t be a problem, but last year a couple retailers did it, and now you have Sears (my employer), Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us all opening Thursday night.

It’s disappointing that the majority of my cashiers will not get to fully enjoy the holiday they so rightfully deserve, because of corporate greed. Do you think those working in the corporate headquarters who made these decisions will be working Thursday night? Nope. They will be enjoying their holiday with their families and have a great night sleeping off the wine and beer they drank after dinner, rolling out of bed at their leisure on Friday morning. What really set me off this morning was a quote from a spokesperson for Target, “Most of our employees are exited about working Black Thursday/Friday.” Yeah, right. Did you poll 4 of your associates who work at headquarters and have the day off? Last NBC reported that your employees had created a petition to stop the early opening, and within three days had over 200,000 signatures. I think your quote is more than a little skewed, sir.

Now I know retailers are trying to survive in a struggling economy, but I really feel like this is going too far. Everyone in my store will be working double shifts that day, and afterward going home to sleep off the madness only to do it all over again on Saturday.

I love Thanksgiving, mostly because I love good food. Sitting around the table with an enormous amount of food and chatting with family is the best part. Having a few glasses of wine and trying a piece of 3 different kinds of pie… it doesn’t get better than that. Can’t we preserve what Thanksgiving is really about? Nope. Instead of being thankful for what we have, I get to spend the day serving the greediest of Americans who will be out supporting this monstrosity.

What also really ticks me off are the folks who say, “Too bad! If you don’t like it, get a different job!” Yeah, ok. After 13 years in retail, I’m just gonna quit and become a lawyer or an accountant so I don’t have to work holidays. It’s not that simple, assholes. Then again, those who have this opinion will the be ones out shopping Thursday night.

Save Thanksgiving! It’s about families getting to spend time together and enjoying each other’s company, not about “what kind of shit can I get $5 cheaper by waiting in line for 3 hours?” It’s about the love and attention that goes into preparing a wonderful meal, not about, “how early do we open and capitalize on America’s greed?”

End rant.





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