I May Shop On Thanksgiving


not-shop-on-thanksgiving-300x300How many friends will I lose over this one? What kind of a backlash will I receive by people that have followed my blog for years?

Don’t know. Don’t care. Seriously – don’t wear underwear.

You see the thing is, I may shop on Thanksgiving.

And I’m getting sick and goddamned tired of hearing about how you won’t.

I used to work in retail. When I was in high school, I worked at Burger King and then Wendy’s. Then when I moved to California, I got a job at the mall in a department store that no longer exists (talk about making me feel ancient). Then I landed a position in a local pharmacy, where I worked for a whopping seven years.

The company that was that chain of drugstores no longer exists either, having been bought out by CVS a few years ago. I’m going to go dig my grave now.

I always wanted to work on holidays. I requested to work on holidays. A lot of people that work in retail do.

Holidays – for me – were a time to make extra money. We always got off or closed in time to do family stuff. And if – by some odd chance, we didn’t – family stuff was scheduled around my work schedule.

Because what the more privileged people of this nation don’t realize, or are so far removed from their own experiences, is that people that work in retail don’t make shit for salary. Holidays may be family time, but your family ain’t eatin’ shit because you make minimum wage, which is not – in any city or state in this, our United States – a livable wage.

So when I hear people talk about how Thanksgiving is a day for family, and people shouldn’t have to work… And how they will be boycotting shopping on Thanksgiving because of the sanctity of the holiday, I often think to myself wow, these people must have no idea what it’s like to be hungry. And surely they don’t know what it’s like to be unable to buy Motrin for their baby, or pay for their son or daughter to participate in a school field trip.

And I also think that they’re hypocrites. Because for every Kmart that is open on Thanksgiving day, and every Walmart that opens at 6 pm on the blessed holiday of shoving as much turkey down your gullet as you can, there is a restaurant open that no one gives a fuck about being open. Oh Thanksgiving is a time for family? But you want to go to Burger King for breakfast, or Marie Callendar’s for a light lunch before your big family feast. So it’s OK for those people to work, because you need to stuff your face even more that day than you already planned to.

But if someone wants to go to Kmart to get Christmas gifts because they can’t afford to shop at Neiman Marcus, or they don’t have the luxury of free time to stand in lines at Best Buy to get good deals because they have to work two full-time jobs just to pay the rent…HOW DARE THEY TARNISH THE SANCTITY OF MY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Now I don’t shop on Thanksgiving normally. And I never go to Black Friday sales. The truth is, I’m already done with my Christmas shopping. But allow me to just say a few things about all this ignorance going around about shit being open, and people having to work on Thanksgiving day:

1. Some people can’t afford to not work on holidays. If you don’t understand that, you have some serious learning to do, and it will be done off your pedestal this time.

2. Other people have had hardships, or they don’t have families, or the holidays are really tough for them – for whatever reason. So they like to work to keep their minds off things, and they do it by going to work. Only a total dickweed thinks they have the right to tell others how to cope with their life’s problems.

3. A lot of people that work on holidays want to. I might go as far as to say that everyone I know of that works on holidays, or have ever talked to working on a holiday, has said that they enjoy it and the extra money, and that they wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I would go as far as to say that.

4. Thanksgiving is celebrating the genocide of an entire nation of people anyway. And gluttony. It’s not like we’re talking about the baby Jesus here or anything, which incidentally I also don’t see people railing against stores being open on Christmas Eve or for a short time Christmas morning.

Because you’ve gotta’ get those last minute gifts, right?

In a nutshell, I think the majority of you people are privileged hypocrites.

Now we can still be friends. I promise. You don’t have to be really mad at me for saying all of this, because really I just have a much different opinion. I happen to know that my opinion is the right one, but we won’t get into that.

All we really need to do is accept that not everyone in this world is living the same life as we are. That’s it! Then we can still be friends, and wield our shared misanthropy around the Internet together. Because in accepting that not everyone in this world is living the same life as we are, we maybe stop making ignorant comments about people that work on holidays, or even that shop and eat out on your blessed Stuff Your Face With Turkey Day. So you hate Kmart for being open all day on Thanksgiving. Fine! You do that! And it’s true that a lot of people there that day will just be shopping to screw the pooch and get a good deal.

But instead of hating on the company for being open, why not turn your hatred into compassion for the employees that probably are thanking their lucky stars that Kmart is open that day. It’s an extra day they get to work and put food on the table. Instead of being such a jerk, why not drop $5 Starbucks cards off to all the employees, or embrace the needs of fast food workers to work on the holiday by stopping by on your way to your Thanksgiving feast to get a soda and just wish the workers a happy holiday.

Maybe – just maybe – then this country would be a better place. If instead of screaming from our Facebooks and Twitter pages how much we want to boycott companies and how morally wrong this or that is, we just love each other and act with everlasting compassion.

Thanksgiving

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79 Comments on “I May Shop On Thanksgiving

  1. You have a new fan! I am seriously sick of all of the preaching about shopping on Thanksgiving. I’m over it! I did my time in retail during college. I know you work shit hours for low pay and it sucks. It’s the preaching by people who will use their electricity, internet, phones, TV’s, airports, and gas stations that is really getting to me. Thanks for being the voice of reason.

  2. I never understood why people complain about stores being open on the holidays because I also know a lot of people who wanted to work the holidays. Some people don’t have family around and it’s lonely for them, some could use the extra cash, and some just like getting time and a half and it’s not a big deal. We all have different views, wants, and needs.

  3. I work in retail and this season I am working 6 days a week sometimes 12hour shifts! I am not complaining because I get to pay all my bills on time for a change! It’s my choice to work, nobody put a gun to my head. I don’t see why anyone else cares!

  4. how compassionate! this is heartening to know that there are people who stand up for other people without any motive whatsoever. hope you had a very good thanksgiving as there are many who did thank you for doing this priceless service to mankind. congratulations on being freshly pressed and so thoughtful.

  5. Wow! I clicked on your post ready to disagree with it completely, but you shed a perspective on this issue that had not previously occurred to me. In previous years I have had the same thoughts about restaurants – I’ve skipped out on more than one Thanksgiving brunch because it seemed contradictory to the holiday. Thanks for the much-needed reminder of my SES privilege. I’ve had tight months and I’ve felt “poor” but have never had to worry about whether I could eat dinner. I didn’t shop on Thanksgiving and probably won’t in the future since that is one of the few days that I am able to devote to my family (on account of living so far away), but I will definitely not be shaming others for doing so. Do you mind if I pass this article along to some friends and relatives who could use your perspective?

    • Not at all and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! Truthfully I did not shop on Thanksgiving either, but I did make it a point to support friends and family that had to either shop or work.

  6. This is a great post with a strong and convincing opinion. Interestingly enough, I wrote a post that couldn’t be more opposing to your thoughts, yet I’m still intrigued and nearly sold on your ideas. If you’re interested, here is the opposing argument:

    http://becausetheytoldmeto.com/2013/11/26/some-things-used-to-be-sacred/

    I especially enjoyed the part about the restaurant employees. As an ex-restaurant employee that has worked every Mother’s Day, every Easter, a handful of Thanksgivings, and even a few Christmas’s, I agree that there is no compassion for that field, and have made public my discontent for sharing those special moments with the greedy en-titlists of the world.

    I agree with the idea that there are people that are willing and eager to make the extra money on these holidays. But, I must also say, as I have seen in some of your less than friendly comments, one of my favorite ideas behind Thanksgiving and Christmas is that they are truly days off. Those are days that I don’t have to think about anything! As poor as I may be at the time, as many problems as I have circulating around during the holidays, as stressful as work is, as stressful as shopping is, as many bills have gone unpaid, as many luxuries that are about to be shut off- these are days that I can forget it all. These are the days that I can focus on ONLY what’s right in front of me.My wife,and my son are the ONLY two things that matter on these days. Even if I worry about what’s going on outside of our house, or whats going on in the bank account- there is ABSOLUTELY nothing I can do about it. Thanksgiving and Christmas are about inner-peace for me.

    One of my fears with Thanksgiving shopping is that it will grow, and grow, and grow. I predict that in 10 years that banks will be open 7 days a week, and open on all holidays. When this happens, there will not be OT offered for the employees and no special treatment for the employees that service you wherever you go. No need for $5 gift cards, or spreading the seasonal cheer. We’re all just too damn busy, and too damn important to have days off.

    Anyway- great post, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your insight. Thank you!!

  7. I needed this. But what does it matter as my bank has stopped working. Check NatWest out, their debit cards have stopped working.

  8. If there weren’t enough demand for stores to be open on holidays, they wouldn’t be. Too often people forget this in their boycotts and complaints.

  9. A very, very, good point and a timely reminder to one and all. We don’t have Thanksgiving where I live on the Isle of Man, but we do have peak periods. I have worked in catering for 10 years, and in retail for longer than I care to remember. In catering we had a simple choice. Work Xmas Eve, Xmas Day, Boxing Day, New years Eve, and New years Day; or face unemployment in january.

    As you say it’s a privilege to be off at such peak times, but people still want shops, power, transport, petrol, health, and emergency services, and despite how knackered the staff may be, the punters still expect to be greeted with a clean, fresh,sober worker and, of course, a smile

  10. Just people fighting to hold on to a past that didn’t really exist. 😉

  11. You make a very good point. I confess I shopped on Thanksgiving. It was online but I did shop. I found it odd when I saw pictures show up on my time line about pledging not to shop on Thanksgiving. It’s like people are so set on things being a certain way that they don’t realize that some people want and need those extra hours. As a bonus with all that pledging going on it might make shopping a more enjoyable experience.

  12. I worked retail for eleven years. It is wrong to shop on holidays. I don’t mean to be rude but everyone working in that store would rather be having their holiday with family and friends. Peace and harmony, Barbara

    • I think you missed the point of the article. Some people choose to work because it beats not getting a check at all…. And if no one worked holidays then we’d all be in serious doo-doo: police, firefighters, military, utilities…we need all of them on holidays, too. So I think we can cut the hourly wage-slave a break and let her work. As one who has worked and managed at a fast food restaurant, people who REALLY don’t want to work usually can get off the schedule…

  13. THANK YOU!! I’ve worked at several places where holidays were not automatic days off . . . retail, restaurants, hotels, even a dinner theatre (one year I did 5 shows on Thanksgiving Day – that was a 16 hour day, and it paid GREAT! And the turkey tasted just as great the day after!). I can’t remember a single instance that anyone was forced to work a holiday. Most were volunteers, and often people fought over the holiday shifts for the extra pay – myself included. I feel my blood boil whenever I hear about the poor, poor worker bees that are forced by their evil employers to work on Thanksgiving. Please.

    • why does everyone seem to think that their experience in a certain situation translates to other people having the same experience? i don’t understand why your blood would boil? do you honestly think other people MUST experience a certain aspect of life in the same way you do? its great that you enjoy working on holidays…the long hours…and you got paid great…from what I can tell from this comment you are some type of performer…but a lot of people don’t experience work on the holidays the same way you do and they have good reason to be resentful. did you read some of the previous comments…i mean this kinda gets to the whole idea of people being to put themselves in another’s shoes..and view life from their perspective. it’s not all rosy just because you experience rosiness.

  14. Does that mean people will not go out to eat,go to the movies,or a casino and any other place where people have to work? Oh don’t call the cops either when your family gets in to a fight at that “family” dinner because after all the police men & women have families too.

  15. Pingback: The Motivation And Purpose To Boycott | Reflective Thinking

  16. Pingback: Black Friday Truth | usaflove86's Blog

  17. I live in Canada and I have worked retail all my life. In the larger urban centers retail stores are open 365 days a year, even on Christmas day. I agree with every comment above that feels we should at the very least have the option to not work on holidays but in reality retail workers do not and they are not compensated with over time if they do.
    What it really boils down to is corporate greed, plain and simple. There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that is in a mall that can’t wait a day to be purchased. I believe the shopping phenomenon is called Black Friday, not Black Thursday after you have eaten your turkey dinner.
    Just wait a few years and I can guarantee that retail will be open all day Thanksgiving like it is here in Canada. What really saddens me is that society values consumerism more than family and tradition. Will are ancestors 100 years from now abolish Thanksgiving and celebrate Black Friday instead?

  18. Reflective Thinking said it best.

    I worked part-time retail for 2.5 years for $11/hour, no commission, no bonuses and a 30 cents-per-hour raise. Associates able to afford a vehicle had to pay to park in the mall parking lot — the cost of parking for a shift equaled $8, the part-time hourly wage. Charging workers for parking? Really?

    Every year, major American retailers rattle their sabers and insist that paying higher wages or adding more hours would end civilization as we know it — while another capitalist democracy manages to pay its retail workers a minimum of $16/hour, Australia. Its economy hasn’t crumbled into dust. Their stores are not shuttered.

    Those who argue in favor of frugality — do you truly believe that $7.25 an hour is a fair wage for anyone in an economy where gas, health care and groceries cost significantly more every year? Frugality is a powerful choice, and a value I share, but should be a choice, not a necessity forced upon people who cannot ever obtain enough hours to pay their most basic bills. When MacDonalds advises workers to work two or three jobs and Walmart staffers need food stamps to supplement their wages — why exactly should our taxes subsidize corporate welfare? They’re raking in record profits. They can actually afford to may more.

    The corporations happily refusing to pay higher than single-digit wages are savaging millions of workers through their greed;
    read Steven Greenhouse’s coverage in today’s NYT and/or my op-ed in today’s Daily News.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/29/business/on-registers-other-side-little-money-to-spend.html?ref=business&_r=0

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/undervalued-retail-worker-article-1.1531362

  19. I agree, there were many times as a child that my moms holiday tips from waitressing on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New years were the only thing between us and no electricity for the holidays. So yes, shop, eat out and remember that the folks working those minimum wage or less jobs need the money to get buy. Drop them a tip, give them a gift and appreciate what they are doing to get by.

  20. I agree that in the existing structure, everyone should be allowed to shop or work when they want to — because that’s what the structure allows for. However, I think the structure presents some fundamental problems. Whereas it is nice to be able to jump up at any time and go run some errands at the nearest convenience store (or call customer service or do whatever we immediately need or desire), the structure also habituates us to the around-the-clock service and around-the-clock work that is collectively unhealthy. Certain professions do indeed require constant attention, but many services and stores have become slaves to convenience. Convenience has mushroomed into a 24/7 service to everyone, thus driving salaries down and making overtime hours a necessity for workers. But why do we feel this need more now than we did, say, 20 years ago? Other cultures, for instance, have specific times of day and whole days during which services shut down en masse. These commonly accepted moments of (relevant) silence and inaction allow everyone to take a break. People simply need to plan around these times…and it might not be convenient, but it’s just something they accept and are prepared for. Workers are able to live reasonably well without the extra holiday hours. And they, too, benefit from those hours put aside for their mental health. They do not live to work, but – justly – work to live. I can’t say I haven’t gone grocery shopping at 10pm or walked into a CVS or Walmart at obscene hours of the night. And I too would love to have a bit more money by working those extra hours. But I also appreciate the value of not working or shopping or whatever else at any moment. So yes, everybody is entitled to work or shop whenever they want to, but is this structure inherently healthy or correct? I’m not as sure.

  21. I understand the problem. I was a teacher for forty years and no I did not make enough money so if the ability to work on a holiday came up so be it. We were comfortable but there was always something to buy. Is there a special day. Not when a bill is sitting on my desk. I think of the farmers of old who had to feed their livestock. Did they say today I have to be off and they will not be feed. We do what we have to and no one should be angry with that decision.

  22. The solution to the fact that so many can’t afford NOT to work on a holiday is not to stay open so they can work the holiday, but to pay them a living wage the rest of the year. Walmart made over $15 billion in profit in 2011 and yet one store felt it necessary to hold a food drive for their own employees, confirming for everyone that many retail workers live in poverty. The hypocrisy doesn’t come from people who boycott Black Friday, but from those who think it’s a good thing that at least those poor retail workers have an extra day to earn a few more bucks instead of taking a well deserved holiday.

  23. I say this respectfully and not with intent to draw ire but just to poke at your logic a bit…the problem is simply “want”. What I mean by that is that we currently live in an economic system in which workers in the jobs you reference are basically compelled to sell their labor to corporations in order to just have the basic means to survival-food, shelter, etc Labor is viewed and treated as a commodity just as a television or an xbox 360. The market is a disciplining force. It is a compelling force. It’s maxim is maximization of profit at whatever cost. And one of those costs is labor. So if every company in these sectors is offering shitty wages for long hours then the fact is workers have no where else to go. If the exploitation existed with just a few companies then those companies would quickly go out of business because no one would want to work under their conditions when they have the freedom to choose better conditions. The problem is there is a monopoly on exploitation in the sectors you reference, and so the conditions are set for the labor market to act as a compelling force. People need to have access to the basic means of survival. This is the reality of wage labor. I mean just think of the immorality inherent in a system in which the often-heard phrase which you used “some people can’t afford the day off, so don’t judge.” Is used to justify this abhorrent relationship between labor and capital which is completely contrived and not at all natural as some people like to think it is. No one, no human being, should have to work in a job that requires them to say “I just can’t afford the day off” cause what that phrase tells you is that they are being compelled to sell their labor power, their blood, their sweat, their tears to a corporation just to have the ability to put food on the table. And that is a big problem. That is a systemic problem. People aren’t hating on the company for being open. They’re hating on the company (technically not just one company but the whole retail sector) for creating an artificial system in which “I just can’t afford the day off or else I won’t be able to pay my bills” is a commonly used phrase by workers who are exploited by these companies. At it’s most basic level, that phrase can be summed up in one word….exploitation. And contrary to what you are saying that hate is very moral. It does signal love and compassion.
    “But instead of hating on the company for being open, why not turn your hatred into compassion for the employees that probably are thanking their lucky stars that Kmart is open that day. It’s an extra day they get to work and put food on the table. Instead of being such a jerk, why not drop $5 Starbucks cards off to all the employees, or embrace the needs of fast food workers to work on the holiday by stopping by on your way to your Thanksgiving feast to get a soda and just wish the workers a happy holiday.”
    What your describing here is charity. It doesn’t get to the root of the problem which at its core is a systemic problem. It doesn’t help to change the conditions in which these people work. It doesn’t help end the system of exploitation that these workers are forced to suffer under in silence. I mean why do you think fast food workers have been coming out in masse, boycotting their workplaces, and demanding a raise in the minimum wage? The only way they’re going to be able to raise their standard of living is by fighting for it and challenging systems of power. They don’t just want that extra day or that $5 starbucks cards from a customer wishing them happy holidays. That doesn’t change the reality of their lives. That’s charity. While charity is necessary in a society that contains want and needless suffering and I am by no means denigrating charitable giving and actions, it essentially does nothing to address the fundamental conditions in which that want arises. To fight against these systemic conditions, well that is far more moral and displays far more compassion for the basic dignity of the human worker, then any form of charity ever could, and that is just a fact. The goal is to live in a society in which charity is no longer needed to sustain the basic needs of the population. Just because that goal may be perceived as unreachable or too idealistic by some, does not mean that we do not stop fighting for it. Indeed it would be deeply immoral to do so. What purer form of love could there be?

    So some people want to work on the holidays…that’s fine…no problem with that…but that fact doesn’t really contribute to arguing either for or against the thesis of your post. The people who boycott are not focusing their action on people who want to work for the sake of enjoying the work. They’re action is focused on people who are forced to work under a system of exploitation.
    “Some people can’t afford to not work on holidays. If you don’t understand that, you have some serious learning to do, and it will be done off your pedestal this time.”

    With regard to this statement, again, it’s not that people don’t understand that. It’s that these people understand the inherent immorality of a system in which this phrase is a widespread reality for too many workers across retail and other exploited sectors. There is no moral high horse here, just a cold look at reality. You will not see real and meaningful change unless this “Some people can’t afford to not work on holidays.” becomes obsolete. Not all the people, and I would bet most of the people who disagree with you are not privileged individuals. They hate that this phrase is a reality, their reality. I mean this comment demonstrates the sentiment perfectly and logically.”
    “I am a retail worker and I still don’t want to work on Thanksgiving but my work is forcing ALL employees to work or we lose our job. Now sure I need money, but this holiday only comes once a year and I love hanging out with family that I don’t always get to see. So speak for yourself cause everyone I know at my work is pissed off that they have to work on a family holiday. Oh and also we don’t get overtime because our work limits us to so many ours to make sure that we CANT get overtime. Sad truth but retail businesses are dirt fucking cheap now.”

    Of course some people have to work, like in the healthcare sector. I mean it’s common sense to acknowledge that these people can’t take the day off. But retail? I mean why not just make everyone do their shopping for the holidays long before the holidays by mandating these stores close on the holidays. It’s that simple. But of course that doesn’t cross the mind of the corporate execs and higher ups who treat labor as a commodity rather then as a set of human beings who would like to be compensated well for their hard work and not have to worry about the consequences of missing a day of pay to be with their families on the holidays. Again the need to get rid of want comes to the forefront. Robin Stinson makes a very good point here, “These openings on Thanksgiving are not to bolster the paycheck of the employee, but the coffers of the corporation.” You can’t just look at this issue in isolation. Sure the worker is getting an extra paycheck that isn’t worth the blood, sweat, and tears he put into the work to earn that paycheck. And what is the corporation getting? Another day of huge profit margins. There’s nothing moral about that picture, and there’s nothing moral about supporting that picture.

    I don’t think you are lacking in compassion. I’m certain you are a very moral person and a very nice person. Nevertheless ( and please don’t take anything I say as offensive, I’m just trying to engage in dialogue here to the best of my abilities) you are simply failing to see this issue in the context in which it arises and therefore you fail to see this issue in the context I n which it must be eliminated, which will not happen by charity but my prolonged social struggle. That is what some of the commenters here are desperately trying to elucidate.

    “Sure companies are greedy and don’t care about their employees, but that is irrelevant to what I am saying.”

    This is not irrelevant to what you are saying. Yes companies are greedy. Great concentrations of power tend to abuse that power. The issue is controlling that power. The issue is not just corporations being greedy. They have created a set of artificial conditions in this country which allow them to maximize their power and tools of exploitation to satisfy that greed. You want to eliminate their greed, then you have to eliminate those tools and you have to control that beastly power. That is the context I am talking about. It is not immoral for people to oppose this system via boycott.

    Finally, what I think you are really opposing is not the morality of boycott but the tactic of boycott. In this I will concede that I think in order for boycott to be affective both exploited workers and potential consumers have to participate. Together they can work to end this system. But this is a technical issue, not a moral one. Workers used to be a very organized force in this country. They were class conscious and politically active fighting for their rights. This needs to happen again. The latent sense of being fed up with this shit is there. It just needs to be harnessed and organized into a mass social force for change.

    And finally the statement “I always wanted to work on holidays. I requested to work on holidays. A lot of people that work in retail do.” is not sufficient to make your argument valid. You have to ask what is the reason that people wanted to work on holidays. was it the “want”…was it because they needed access to the basic means of survival. if that is the case, which it tends to be the case, then this desire to work is not a real desire to work for the sake of the joy of the job….it’s a desire to work created by the corporation’s exploitation of its workers. if the conditions didn’t exist for this desire to manifest itself, then that would mean that exploitation isn’t taking place…which is a good thing. a better way to phrase it would not be “a desire to work” but rather “feeling that you have to work in order to meet your basic needs”…which not coincendentally is exactly the way the corporation wants you to feel. How else are they gonna compel you to work on Thanksgiving?

    • Totally CO-SIGN every single word you’ve said here! I was going to comment because this is a topic which comes UP now every Thanksgiving and yep! Christmas also..Folks do NOT realize nor want to realize they’ve been ‘conditioned’ to feel the way the corporation wants them to feel..Would make far MORE sense to fight for higher retail wages; right? But is working on the holidays(that is making corporations MORE money..) for longer hours , going to solve that issue? Hecks no! It is a self-defeating act to work holidays as a retail worker..Speaking about hypocrits? Walmart having its own meagerly paid employees ; gather food items for other same employees! WtF! I won’t shop Walmart & know many people who refuse..(based on how awful they treat/pay their employees) When people want change? It takes sacrifice; not just going along with the flow & continuing to whine about it!

      • Oh my god when i read about that walmart policy all I could think was the nerve of these assholes.i mean you really need to be a special type of cruel and you really need to think people are a special type of stupid too… But unfortunately both exist.

      • oh my god when i read that story about walmart all I could think was the nerve of these people to institute such an odious policy. you have to be a special type of cruel and believe people are a special type of stupid to first have such a policy and then think it will work. unfortunately both exist.

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    • Salespersons label that feeling you’ve expressed as “buying fever”, and they are only too happy to exploit it for profit. There are always deals out there. There will still be deals after the holidays. The best deal is living totally within your means.

  25. If all of those who think shops should be closed on holidays would also NOT shop using the internet, they would be so much more believable …

  26. How do I put this without offending anyone? Well heck it has already been done, so no harm no foul. With the exception of pharmacies, gas stations, and a few restaurants, the majority of stores have shut their doors on Thanksgiving. On a day where we are are to give thanks for all the good in our lives and for the loved ones who inhabit our world. But within the past decade, more and more stores are infringing upon the sanctity of that. They are all but forcing their employees to come in on a day where it is meant for gathering with family, surrounding themselves with good food and football, to come in and work amongst the throngs of people looking for the latest and greatest gadget at the best possible price. I surely understand that this economy that we endure today is far removed from that of a couple decades ago and that more and more minimum wage workers or less than minimum wage workers are struggling to provide for their families and would want to work the extra day in order to have the additional days earnings. But, life isn’t about money, it isn’t and shouldn’t be about the latest gadget at that unbeatable, can’t miss price. It should be about that one day where we can all set aside the worlds worries and be with family and friends, people we love to give thanks for having food, even if it is meager than in years past, a roof over our heads, and a nice full belly. Instead of looking at the ignorance of the people who you believe to be putting themselves on this pedestal, why not think of it as people who want to preserve this holiday for what is really supposed to be all about and that is family. I understand that times are tough right now financially and losing a days pay is tough but that is what budgeting is for. That is what being frugal is meant to accomplish and aid in. If my brother who is married with four kids, who works in retail, can do it and miss a days pays, and thus allowing his wife to stay at home full time with the kids, can manage having a day off, that surely others can too.

    • A person can develop extremely frugal habits, but that doesn’t save them from past debts such as students loans leftover from a worthless college degree (wayyyyy too many of those these days).

      It can also be hard to think about the holiday as celebratory when the household (or rather, run down apartment) funds can’t cover more than a meager meal for that special day, or there are no family members present.

      I think what the original poster is trying to say: let those who want to work thanksgiving on thanksgiving work, and let those who want to shop on thanksgiving shop. I’d guess a majority of stores open for Thanksgiving are filled with volunteer workers. Respect must be given to the freedom to choose. I know not everyone chooses to work Thanksgiving, but I feel a better route to help these people is to just try and brighten their day. Go to a restaurant still open, tip your waiter $50 and believe me it’ll make his/her day a good one.

      Thanks for making your argument in a courteous manner! Hopefully I came off the same (I think I did at least).

  27. This is a topic I always enjoy reading and thinking about, and you have a good sense of humor so I had fun reading this.

    It is important to not be a dick, whether you have one or not, but that’s where our agreement basically ends. It’s a voluntary choice to work in retail in indentured servitude to the rules of Capitalism, when you can always work in more service-oriented jobs for the same wages, like say as a caregiver in a nursing home. I made that choice to work retail for a decade, and then made other choices, ones I believe were better for the enrichment of my spirit if not my bank account.

    The whole concept of a “living wage” is based on assumptions about a bloated, wasteful lifestyle Americans hold dear as an ideal. I own a house with water and mountain views, eat well, have money for things like satellite TV and high-speed internet – and make about $275/week working part-time in an in-demand service job (x-ray tech).

    How? Small house that’s over 30 years old, one tiny, cheap car, the choice to work within five miles of home, and the choice to consciously not buy stuff we don’t need, including buying gifts for people in lieu of making things or spending time with them on holidays. We don’t pay for things like garbage pickup. We sort and haul it ourselves. I could go on and on. There are literally hundreds of ways you can live well on minimum wage. We discover new ways of doing it better every month! You have to be willing to make sensible choices that seriously lower your costs, that’s all. If you can’t afford a car, don’t own one. Live on a public transportation route instead. Get your DVDs and books free at the Public Library. I better stop there. I’m starting to sound like a dick…

    • Mikey, some of the things you credit to your frugal living you should really credit to other factors – for example, the fact that you live in a low-cost area. Over 80% Americans live in urban areas, and in the one where I live (not cheap but not ridiculously expensive like NYC or San Francisco), for your entire monthly pay of $1100/month can expect to get a small 1 bedroom apartment in a below-average condition, in a 80-100 year old house, in a below average neighborhood 8 miles from downtown – but on public transportation. I spent a few weeks last year hunting for an apartment, so that’s the actual data, not guesswork – except maybe the rents went up since last year. You can haul trash, make your own presents, forgo internet and TV, but no amount of frugal living is going to help your family make ends meet on $1100 without having to share your apartment with other people or making even more drastic sacrifices than what you have to do. As for “choosing to work close to home” – well, in this economy, for most of us it’s not really a choice where we work, even for the supposedly in-demand professions.
      And in case you’re wondering why don’t the people from places like mine make the sensible choice and move to places like yours – that because where the jobs are.

      • I lived in Los Angeles previously, and temped at minimum wage for the first seven years, traveling around by bus and bike. Though my home is now in a lower-cost place to live, the frugality was more important in El Lay. It works anywhere. As far as getting work, what I discovered is that if you learn an in-demand profession (I’m an x-ray tech) you can move wherever you want.

  28. Ugh I hate how right you are!
    To be honest, when I examine my annoyance about the Black Friday shopping it really just originates from the fact that there’re calling it black FRIDAY, and not Thursday (which it really is now).
    Regardless, I 2 will be out shopping the sales. Mostly for things I need (like art supplies) for college, and one thing for my dad.
    Happy Mass-Genocide day and happy maybe-shopping!

  29. Congratulations. You’re a horrible person, who is ignorant to the way things work in retail today. The people who actually want to work on holidays is an extreme minority. If you want to work on your holiday, that’s fine but people who don’t want to shouldn’t be forced to just to keep their job.

    Working on major holidays should never be mandatory. If you do happen to wish to work then you better be prepared to run on a skeleton crew.

    If you could have bought it the day before or the day after and didn’t then you don’t need it. We have fucking Black Friday for a reason.

    • You are so right! I AM a horrible person AND ignorant. I forgot I needed to get working on that.

      First, could you point me in the direction of the money tree all these retail workers you speak of get their money to pay bills and feed their families? Surely with all this time off they have such a thing since retail workers across the board, as a case in point fact, make low wages.

      • I am a retail worker and I still don’t want to work on Thanksgiving but my work is forcing ALL employees to work or we lose our job. Now sure I need money, but this holiday only comes once a year and I love hanging out with family that I don’t always get to see. So speak for yourself cause everyone I know at my work is pissed off that they have to work on a family holiday. Oh and also we don’t get overtime because our work limits us to so many ours to make sure that we CANT get overtime. Sad truth but retail businesses are dirt fucking cheap now.

  30. I loved your post! I work as a nurse and I am always asked to take holidays and frankly I don’t mind because of the pay. People don’t just stop getting sick because its the holidays, frankly its the opposite where there is a long ER wait. Usually they come in for abdominal pain because they have eaten to much turkey and I have to listen to the story of self induced gluttony. Yes I would love to be home with my family but as you pointed out, I am not apart of the privileged and need to pay for things such as school for the kiddos and other necessity. So shop on! Great post!

  31. Haha I’m pretty sure I told my boss I needed that whole week off so I could visit out-of-state family when in reality I’ll be celebrating the Saturday before… So I may join you with shopping. Or sleeping all day. Who knows. No hatin’

  32. Your viewpoint is extremely ignorant. You worked at a retail store ages ago (by your own admission) so you MUST know what it’s like to work in retail today. In the suffering economy of today retail stores work their staff like animals. My boyfriend works upwards of 50 hours a week for $10 an hour at a very popular retail store. Before you run your ignorant mouth saying that he should work harder to get into management let me stop you and say HE IS MANAGEMENT. He usually works 6 days a week, oftentimes closing at 11:00pm only to be expected back at the store at 6:00am the next day. He and people like him deserve one day in order to spend with their friends and family. Thanksgiving like every other widely celebrated holiday (Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, etc.) are usually not celebrated for the historic or religious grounds but as a time to take one day from the stress of bills, customers, and expectations and spend a whole god damned 24 hours with loved ones. These openings on Thanksgiving are not to bolster the paycheck of the employee, but the coffers of the corporation. In addition, these workers will be worked 12-14+ hours a day from Thursday to Sunday, and then have their hours cut to 3-5 the next week–which will not yield the high number of overtime hours that many people claim. You speak of compassion, but clearly this is just one of another practices you are ill informed of.

    • I think you missed my point, though perhaps my ignorance was just so great that I didn’t make it clear. $10 an hour is not a livable wage. You probably know this since your management level boyfriend makes that. Some people absolutely need that money. Sure companies are greedy and don’t care about their employees, but that is irrelevant to what I am saying. I am saying some people can’t afford the day off, so don’t judge. And in fact, I have some friends that work in offices closed on Thanksgiving and do not get paid for that day, so in November they eat less or pay a bill late because of it. Each of them says they’d rather sit in the office on Thanksgiving and be able to pay their bills, than have the day off to stuff pie down their faces. I’m just ignorant and lacking compassion though, so what so I know…

      • Umm..”$10 an hour is not a livable wage”, sorry but that’s bullshit. If you can budget yourself you can live off of 600+ every two weeks working 40 hours a week. I know because my fiance does it and can do it on her own if she needed too. So please think about the possibilities before you start running your fucking mouth on shit you know nothing of.

    • RobinStinson–my thoughts exactly. I can’t take the personal anecdotes very seriously when they come from so long ago and when a lot of that experience seems to be as a teenager, when one isn’t usually in charge of hosting a celebration. For a more recent anecdote, let me explain what happens at the store where I DO work:
      1) Almost everyone makes minimum or near-minimum wage.
      2) We don’t get holiday pay.
      3) The company NEVER lets anyone get overtime.
      4) The company isn’t giving us extra hours for the week.
      5) The store starts by asking for volunteers, but, of course, it can’t be anyone who might make overtime and might be interested. Still, someone has to work. The job ended up falling on someone who has had to postpone her holiday with kids and grandkids indefinitely.
      6) Because the anchors opened, the whole mall has to open. Otherwise, stores get fined. However, my store’s demographic doesn’t typically do this sort of shopping. We’ll be pretty empty most of the time. It’s not really the greatest use of anyone’s time.

      In other words, our employees don’t benefit from working on Thanksgiving. Now, I understand perfectly well that vital services like the police or hospitals need to be open, but nothing at the mall is so vital that it can’t wait for a few more hours.

  33. But walmart target and other fine stores want to share with you their. Holiday cheer. Are you a grinch? Whatever happened to just being joyous…

      • So true… But wait “retailers won’t be happy if you don’t shop that day” As if they have personified the corporations and made them sound like you would be hurting their feelings.

  34. For me, it’s not about the sanctity of the holiday. It’s about the Pavlovian way we drool over the expected deals, and the sheeplike way we stand in line at midnight or whenever.

  35. someone might actually complain if you shop on thanksgiving? what the hell business is it of anyone else when you shop? i hate people. i soooo want my own planet. or an island. i’ll settle for an island as long as there’s a security gate to the only harbor. i don’t want just any fucker landing on my island. shopping welcome.

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