This year, several stores opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Target, Macy’s, K-mart and Kohl’s are all among that number. But, the one that has drawn the most ire is, wait for it…, Wal-mart. Yes, the Evil Empire has decided that they must be open to keep up with their competition and some folks don’t like that. I don’t care for it myself. After spending 23 years a firefighter, I know a little something about working on holidays. Take it from me, it sucks. The fact that Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are about the only time off people who work in retail can count on just makes it worse.
Of course, Wal-mart still hasn’t understood what the fuss is all about, claiming their people were excited to work yesterday. As clueless as that sounds, it’s probably true. When you get paid by the hour, you don’t make money when you’re off the clock. Add in an hourly rate that sucks ass and you’ll jump at any chance for more hours, especially when they’re paying time and a half (assuming these companies are doing that).
Initially, I was one of the people raising hell about this, saying that profits shouldn’t come before people. And, they shouldn’t. Last week, though, I had two realizations that made me see things in a different light. The first was a Facebook status which pointed out that all the fuss over stores being open is a bit hypocritical. For years, restaurants and movie theaters have been open on Thanksgiving and nobody has said a word. But, let that spawn of Satan Wal-mart open its doors on this hallowed day and we lose our minds. The second was something my friend, Sarah McCoy said. She pointed out that, for some shoppers, the sales they find tomorrow might mean the difference between some Christmas and no Christmas for their families.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone should’ve run out yesterday and spent a bunch of money so these stores will continue to be open on Thanksgiving and their employees can work more hours. Nor am I saying we should keep quiet on this. People shouldn’t have to work on Thanksgiving just so I can get a deal on a television. And, they should earn a wage that doesn’t require them to work long hours at multiple jobs or take shifts on weekends and holidays just to make ends meet. What I am saying is that it was easy for me to stay home yesterday; I hate crowds and I hate shopping, so getting out in that mess wasn’t high on my list no matter how much money I might have saved. The truth is I didn’t sacrifice a whole lot by refusing to patronize a business for being open on a specific day when I won’t shop there in the first place. It just took me a while to figure that out.