Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thinking about Shopping on Thanksgiving? Just Don't!

HT:  Katrina Trinko at National Review Online

Look, do what you want.  But if you feel that, for whatever reason, you must shop on Thanksgiving Day, at least ask yourself:  How does shopping on Thanksgiving show how thankful you are for what God has given you?  Also, ask yourself this:  Is it not hypocritical to condemn stores for making employees work on a holiday while going to these same stores?

Ms. Trinko at NRO makes the case far better than I do.  For those of you who have never worked retail (I have), this is not a fun time to work.  Most people who shop on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday or even throughout the whole "holiday season" are unreasonable, demanding, rude, mean, snappy, discourteous, sinister, etc.  The people who work retail are the recipients of some of the nastiest comments ever heard.  So, why add to their misery during this season by making them give up a day off which is meant to be shared with family and friends and substituting instead all sorts of vitriol?

Ms. Trinko writes:

Just don’t do it.

Don’t shop on Thanksgiving Day. I don’t care how much joy shopping gives you. You’ve got 25 days to shop for Christmas if you start on Black Friday. That’s enough.

Yes, you’ll have the opportunity to shop: At least 15 major retail chains will be open on Thanksgiving, including Walmart, Macy’s, and Best Buy (according to ThinkProgress).

How fantastic would it be if no one showed up?

We already have people stuck working to man the airports and restaurants. We shouldn’t be asking even more people to work, particularly when shopping (thankfully!) isn’t even part of our Thanksgiving tradition, unlike traveling to be with family or enjoying a meal together.

I worked at Borders for a couple of summers and a Christmas during college. That’s not very much retail experience: Many of my colleagues in journalism had worked several years already in retail. But it was enough to give me a taste of what a nightmare the work schedule could be. You don’t get weekends off when you work retail — if anything, they’re the days you’re least likely to get off because everyone else is out shopping then.

Yes, most of us got two days off at some point during the week. But they could be any days, and they could change from week to week, too. Managers hated requests for particular days off. You could sometimes swap a shift with someone else or get them to take on your shift, but it was a little risky to rely on that for an important occasion.

For many of us, our workweeks are Monday through Friday. We have weeknights and weekends off, and so do most of the people we know. That makes it significantly easier to see one another, and to have gatherings of family and friends.

But if you work retail or other jobs that involve regular weekends and nights — and many of your friends and family do — it’s tougher to get everyone together. It’s hard to find a day when everyone is off and can gather together.

It used to be that holidays were those days: A time when just about everyone, regardless of his job, was able to spend the day with loved ones.

Making Thanksgiving a working day is going to change that. It’s going to take away from retail employees a rare universal day off.

And frankly, I can’t imagine what you could buy on Thanksgiving that would make that trade-off worth it to our culture.

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