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Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Day Retail

With all the hubbub and heated sentiments surrounding retail stores being open on Thanksgiving Day, it's got me thinking.  I know: uh-oh.
 
From what I understand - and I try to avoid this particular discussion as much as possible - people are upset, stating that the retail employees need to be able to spend the holiday with their families, and their employers are robbing them of that.
 
Having worked at a grocery retailer for six years, I spent those six straight years missing Thanksgiving dinner, due to having to work.
 
But that was never a big deal.  No one ever stood up and complained that I, along with several of my co-workers, had to work on Thanksgiving Day.
 
I wasn't looking for that, by any means.  But it brings up the question - what's the difference between that and the "Black Friday" retailers having to work, now on Thanksgiving?
 
What - people need food???  Thanksgiving is on the same day every year - people know it's coming long before it arrives.  And if someone forgets a vital grocery item, or they open something that it's spoiled, and the grocery stores are closed, they'll go to the gas stations.
 
But you don't hear anyone complaining that gas station employees are working either.  Those guys even work on Christmas.  People have to be able to buy their booze and cigarettes, right?  But head out to get your kid a gaming system, or cool toy while they're highly discounted, and you're contributing to ruining someone's holiday, because they're being forced to sell it to you on that particular day.
 
I'm not looking to start any arguments.  But really, no matter what people are selling - what's the difference between Best Buy, Target, and the malls being open on Thanksgiving day, when no one seems to care or make a fuss about all the grocery and convenience store employees that are also working that day??
 
I don't know, just my two cents.
 
Thoughts?
 
Opinions?

9 comments:

  1. Having a father who just retired from working for Target, I can tell you that the people who are working holidays (Like my father did for *years and years*) know going into their jobs that they will have to work on holidays. It is understood when they are hired that it is a requirement of their job. Is it ideal? No. Does it suck? Yes. But no one stands up and says anything about news reporters, hospital workers, and first responders who never get holidays off. It's just a fact of life and the reality of our world today. The world won't - and can't - stop spinning and operating because of the holidays. And truth be told, the people who are working retail and other industries will tell you (9 times out of 10) that they don't mind - they would rather be employed and making time and a half than to have nothing. People these days are far too busy pulling out their pitchforks and sharpening their weapons to stop long enough to realize that these people in retail usually work and HOURLY wage. Missing a day of pay because the store is closed isn't an option for them - that's a whole day's worth of pay down the tubes. My message to people on this topic is this: if you don't like the stores being open, then don't shop there. It's really that simple, end of story. But don't advocate for other people to lose a day of pay that goes to feed and take care of their family.

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  2. I agree with this, but I honestly don't think anyone should have to work. Be an adult, plan ahead, buy enough butter, and fill your tank up with enough gas to get you there. By having these places open we are rewarding crappy, irresponsible behavior--and the mentality that someone will be there to pick up the pieces when you didn't buy enough stuffing. It's like when high school students (I am a high school teacher) don't do an assignment until the night before it's due (after having two weeks to work on it) and their internet goes out because of a windstorm. Do I honestly feel bad? Not really, because if they had planned a little better it wouldn't have been an issue.

    My POV is a little more controversial that yours--I think that we should be making a fuss that grocery and convenience store workers work. Everyone should be home with their family (or if they hate their family, because some people will make that argument, then having some much-needed "me time").

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    1. I love your point of view, actually. I agree - plan ahead and be ready. The end. :)

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  3. My biggest issue with the retail stores being open is this: the assumption that they are receiving holiday pay or time and a half for missing family get togethers. They are not. When a nurse or a doctor works a holiday, they are paid holiday wages. Many grocery stores (at least here in STL) are union, so they are paid holiday pay. My friends who used to work at the gas stations earned holiday pay too. When a person is working on Thanksgiving at Macy's or Target, they are only working their standard wage and most likely working 30+ hours in a 2 or 3 day period. There is no time and a half for working a 6+ hour shift on Thanksgiving itself.

    What about overtime, you ask? It likely doesn't exist. The retail stores hire so many extra bodies to ensure that there are enough people to cover the shifts the rest of the week and keep their hours below 40. Most work weeks in retail run Thurs.-Wed. to maximize weekend and holiday hours. All the people checking customer's out at 6pm on Thanksgiving day will most likely only work one or two random 4 hour shifts the rest of the week. If they are lucky enough to reach over 40 hrs, the pay and a half only kicks in for the time over 40.

    I have worked retail for over a decade. The idea of working Thanksgiving day so someone can buy a cheaper toy or tool seems very unfair. We work for little wage as is; with crappy hours and little or no benefits. The jobs everyone says are out there outside of retail are a lot harder to find than people realize. At least give us the one day to spend with our families before you turn around and yell at us for being out of the limited-to-5-in-a-store purple camera that you wanted for $50.

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  4. By the way, the "you" was meant as buyers in general; not you personally. I was re-reading my reply and it came across more aggressive than I meant it to be.

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  5. As a police officer I worked holidays for most of my 23 years. Solution. We had our holiday meals when I was off. Personally I wont be shopping at all that entire weekend. But my sister in law, she hits every store with a group.of her friends every year.
    Soo my 2 cents - if you dont want to work holidays, find a job where you dont have to work holidays. Otherwise be flexible. It really doesnt matter what day of the week your family gets together, or what time of day. The point is to get together and enjoy each others company.

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    1. Thank you for your service! I will not be shopping at all either, but that's just my preference. I choose to avoid enormous crowds of crazies any time of the year. :)

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