Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

Why I Won’t Be Shopping on Thanksgiving

on November 21, 2013

So, our “Why Wednesday” series is getting started a day late, but hey the idea is still the same. Remember I am looking for all of you to help with this series. If you have a “why” you would like to answer let me know. Why are you passionate about something, why have you made a life choice that you sometimes feel the need to explain, or any other why you might think of.

So today I will be telling you why I won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving.  Let me tell you first I am not someone who says all Christmas related activities must wait until after Thanksgiving. Christmas music and all things peppermint started November 1st in my house. The kids spotted a Christmas tree in a neighbor’s house last night and couldn’t understand why we don’t have one up yet (because they aren’t selling fresh cut ones yet). We love us some Christmas in the Baker house.

The fact that I won’t be shopping at 6:00 Thanksgiving afternoon has nothing to do with my love for Christmas. It has everything to do with my love for others. My husband worked retail for a lot of years (he now works in the food and beverage industry that is very simmillar). Let’s just say he worked for what would generally be considered the nicer of the ‘big box” stores (you know the one where you can get your mocha and shop). This store will be opening at 8:00 on Thanks giving night (which is later than some). I asked him what time he would have had to be in if he was still working. He said 4:00 for a day like that.

When my husband use to work retail he loved Thanks giving and truly tried to soak up every last moment of the calm before the storm.  He new that the next 4-6 weeks would mean working 60 hours a week (he was a salaried level position so no overtime) , cranky customers, and never ending craziness.  Christmas Eve would be pent working up until the very last minute. The day after Christmas through New Years get ready for the returns. But at least he had Thanksgiving.  Calm, quiet (we only had one child then), family focused Thanksgiving. Now people working retail do not have that.

I have heard a couple of arguments for why it is not a big deal fro retail employees to work on Thanksgiving. The first one is , “Well, if police, and doctors, and fire fighters have to work on Thanksgiving why shouldn’t other people.” Come on really? I greatly appreciate the sacrifice people in serving professions make (15 years in ministry remember I know that one). However, I think we all agree it is necessary to have some of these people working on holidays for all of our safety. We do not need to be able to buy discounted toys and electronics to be safe. The other is, “Well if they don’t like it they should get another job”. Again I say really? Have you tried finding a job lately? I have and with a college degree I was able to land a holiday job at a children’s clothing store. Retail jobs are now the number one job in America. Not tech, not manufacturing, not service jobs, retail. Low paying retail jobs at that. So no, just going to find another job is not always a realistic option.

My best friend and I will keep our tradition going and go out in the way early morning hours of Friday before I have to go to work. We will laugh at how silly we are for doing, knowing we could just do it all on line. Where is the fun in that though? Now, I am sure there are some deals that I will miss out on. We have a very limited Christmas budget so people might get a little less because of it but that’s OK. Nobody is going to go without.  I do not need to take other people’s family time so that the members of my family can each have one more present or so that I can have something to do. I will respect the hard working retail employees more than that even if their companies do not.

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One response to “Why I Won’t Be Shopping on Thanksgiving

  1. Shelly Kozozemski says:

    As always, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I do have mixed feelings about this. I do agree that people shouldn’t be forced to work on Thanksgiving. It should be optional, and it, of course, should be paid holiday pay (which I think it mostly is). However, there are people who need to work extra days like that to help make ends meet, and having that option can be a blessing for them. In addition, there are plenty of working people who do not have families to be with on Thanksgiving, and who enjoy working where they can at least interact with people. There are people who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on that day because it’s easier on the weekends to see their families, etc., and they’d rather bring in some money so they have more money for shopping. It’s nice when a retailer closes for the day because of their principles, but I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing when they don’t. Some people can’t shop on Black Friday because – you guessed it – they have to work! So, Thursday is a good option for them. It’s funny, too, that many people who disagree with retail stores being open don’t mind going to a movie Thanksgiving evening (which is staffed by people who have to work on Thanksgiving). Many of these people may go out to eat on Thanksgiving – there are restaurants open staffed by people working on Thanksgiving. The fact is, lots of people have to work on holidays, and they just have to find ways to make the holidays special with their families around their work schedules. We had a call center that was open 24/7, and we always opened it up for volunteers to work the holidays, and, to be honest, we never had a problem filling those days because of the extra pay. Thanks for posting!

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