Black Friday is days away and OH MY GOD DO YOU HAVE YOUR SHOPPING PLAN DOWN? Just kidding. I participated in the madness that is Black Friday exactly once. And that was enough. I mean, I got some great presents at great prices, but that didn’t make up for the dreadful early morning hours and the dreadful number of people, IMHO.
If you’ve scrolled through your Facebook feed in the past month or so, you have no doubt heard that stores this year are electing to open on Thanksgiving in order to spread out the crazy, insane madness of sales and shoppers. And people are P-I-S-S-E-D. Like planning boycotts and posting pledges on Facebook pissed.
I think stores started this tradition last year, but I don’t remember the exact history of “Black Friday” shopping overflowing into the Thursday preceding it because whether a store is open or not on Thanksgiving causes me little concern. It has caused enough of a kerfuffle in Connecticut, though, that at least one legislator has introduced legislation that would, according to him, effectively curtail stores opening on This Sacred Holy Day and consequently RESTORE THE SANCTITY OF FAMILY.
I don’t know, guys. I don’t get the outrage. What I gather from a variety of sources is that People Who Work in Jobs That Are Closed on Thanksgiving are upset on behalf of the Sanctity of Family and People Who Work in Retail because (1) Thanksgiving is a critical time for family bonding that will be destroyed if people shop on Thanksgiving and (2) People Who Work in Retail should be allowed to spend This Special Day with their families and not forced to work. Should people spend time with their families and should employees have a say in their work schedules? Sure. But who is anyone to say that people who choose to shop on Thanksgiving don’t spend enough time with their families or that employees who are working on Thanksgiving are unhappy? It all sounds very judgmental to me.
First, if you are offended by the thought of shopping on this High Holy Day, then simply don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving. But don’t assume that people partaking in sales on Thanksgiving loves their families any less than you. Or that people who don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving are actually spending the day with their families.
Second, there are a lot of businesses open on Thanksgiving – like gas stations, Dunkin’ Donuts, grocery stores, nursing homes, restaurants, movie theaters, hospitals, fire departments and police stations. And bars! Is anyone forming groups to boycott these industries, or writing articles about how bad it sucks that people in these jobs have to work on Thanksgiving? Not really. Because people who work in these industries accept that they will have to work on holidays. And so do people who work in retail.
As you enjoy the day with your families, People With Cushy Not-Open-on-Thanksgiving Jobs, think about this. While I am sure there are plenty of employees who are bitter about having to work on Thanksgiving (though I’d also wager a bet that these people don’t like their jobs in general and the Thanksgiving thing is just the icing on the cake of despair), there are likely plenty of employees who are OK with working on Thanksgiving because:
- they want the extra shift
- they get paid extra for working on a holiday
- they don’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with
- they think spending half the day with their families is enough
- taking the Thanksgiving shift means they have a day off on the weekend
- they’d prefer not to spend the entire day with their crazy families
- they like their jobs
- etka, etka, etka (that’s for the Morgan Tookers fans in the crowd)
Wow, I sound pretty sour! Let me turn it around a little. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect on the blessings in your life, and I offer this: I’m grateful that I have Thanksgiving off. I’m grateful that people who need to save money will have many opportunities in the next week to grab items they may need or want to give as presents for a significantly reduced price. I’m grateful that people who need extra money will have the opportunity to work extra hours on Thursday. And I’m grateful that I live in a country where someone who may be unhappy with having to work on Thursday can pursue a vocation that would provide the day off.