REMINDER: Not Having To Work On Thanksgiving Is A Privilege

Every year, I see all of these posts on Facebook and other social media sites going around about companies choosing to not be open on Thanksgiving, so that employees can be with their families. There’s also the loud, ALL CAPS proclamations that only hideous and awful people would work or shop on the holiday.

I wrote about this several years ago, in fact it was the only time I was Freshly Pressed on WordPress’s coveted homepage. I guess I didn’t get my point across to you guys, though, because still many of you are continuing, I see along your own blogs, Facebooks, and Twitter feeds, to look down upon people that work on holidays, and shame those that shop on Thanksgiving.

To be clear: if you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving, I don’t care. And if you are fortunate enough to not have to work on Thanksgiving…well cheers! Good for you!

But this is one of those times that the famous quote comes into play: privilege is thinking something is not a problem, because it does not affect you personally.

So let’s try this one again.

Not having to work on Thanksgiving is a privilege. I’m sure if your house catches on fire because you don’t know how the fuck to use your oven properly, you’ll appreciate the fire fighters and ambulance workers that – wait for it – work on Thanksgiving, instead of spend time with their families.

Let’s say you suffer some burns and have to go to the hospital. Certainly the employees there are terrible people for choosing to work on the holiday, instead of being with family as well.

There are a host of professions in which holidays are like any other day: non-negotiable. And before you all get back on your high horse and start in about how retail employees, specifically, should receive the day off to spend that time with their families, consider a few things:

  1. Many retail employees don’t make shit for pay any other day of the year, so need the overtime pay. When I was in college, paying my way through, I volunteered to work every holiday so that I could have some extra cash for books. I still got off in time for my family to plan their dinner around my schedule. It can be done.
  2. Many retail employees work in jobs where they don’t make shit for pay AND they don’t get holiday pay or PTO for that day off. That one day to “spend with their families” is literally the difference between making the rent, and being evicted.
  3. Many people have other family members who work in the positions I mentioned or are in the military, or have recently had a falling out with family or recently had a tragic death …there are a ton of reasons why someone would choose to go work to take their mind off an otherwise depressing situation. It’s the holiday season, and that isn’t always a positive thing for people (check post-holiday suicide rates if you don’t believe me). We should all be comfortable doing what we have to do to get through it.

And for the people that shop on Thanksgiving…that go out and wait for the deals. Sure, some of them are just materialistic pieces of trash who want cheap, new TVs.

But there are some in there, too, that have to get those deals, or Christmas for their kids doesn’t happen. Like at all.

Not having to working or shop on Thanksgiving is a privilege. Those of you in either, or both, of those positions should be grateful (hey…you could post about it on your Facebook grateful status).

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 3: Will Everyone Shut Up About Black Friday Already?

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 6: Cooking for Ungrateful People (STFU Fridays) was postponed because it contained a snarky, and yet scintillating, roast of a few of my favorite bloggers, one of whom’s father had to unexpectedly undergo an emergency heart procedure to unblock some arteries. B(itch)log is happy to report he is on the mend, and our roast will be featured this week on Black Friday. 

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This morning I woke up and did my usual. I read my emails. I checked my Facebook. I scrolled through my Twitter.

Then I got angry.

That’s pretty usual too, so not entirely out of the ordinary. But I was extra angry this morning. You might say extraordinarily angry; and it was for one reason: Black Friday is this week.

Everywhere I looked, I was being assaulted visually with Black Friday bullshit. I get it. The Christmas season is breathing down our necks. What will I get for Aunt B – the person that has everything? How am I going to manage my meager funds if I don’t take advantage of the Buy 1 Get 5 Free holiday turtleneck bin at Target? When will I have another opportunity to murder someone in line at Walmart to get a good deal on a flat screen TV?

All excellent questions we all ask ourselves year in and year out.

But I still got angry, and for a few reasons.

#1

Christmas Is About Jesus, Not a New XBox360

I’m pretty sure every year on his birthday, Jesus wasn’t screaming at Mary and Joseph for not getting him a new XBox360, or Tweeting about how his life was over because he wasn’t given a new iPad.

Whether you are religious or not, it is absolutely wrong to ignore the actual meaning of Christmas. It ‘aint about what you got, who gave it to you, and who’s off your list next year because they gifted something homemade. It ‘aint family gatherings where Uncle Floyd gets shit faced and moons the Christmas carolers at the front door. It ‘aint a Christmas ham bone getting stuck in the dog’s throat. It’s about Christ.

I’m not about to wax all Catholic on you faithful blog followers; and quite frankly as a Catholic I am well aware that Jesus wasn’t even really born in December. But that’s all beside the point: religious or not, the least we as consumers could do is exert a little humility and appreciation for the actual meaning. And then we can subsequently calm the fuck down on the gift giving nonsense.

This is just like Thanksgiving, though. Do you think Thanksgiving was all about shoving as much turkey into your body as was physically possible? Is the meaning of Thanksgiving to engorge yourself on pumpkin pie until you go running for the bathroom in a sheer fit of fiber-induced gas? I think the answer is obvious.

#2

Thanksgiving Isn’t Even Over With Yet

Seriously. Did Thanksgiving cease to exist? Are people not even doing anything this year? At least that’s what it seems like because the stores are decked out, people’s houses are already covered in lights, and Black Friday is being shoved down our throats.

I read a great post a few days ago about how these retailers are showing their true greed and opportunism by opening at 6 or 8 in the evening on Thanksgiving night. And while I did think it was a great point, I also believe it is the role of the consumer to stand up and say “no” to that kind of bullshit.

But they don’t, obviously because we don’t give a fuck about Thanksgiving or traditions. We give a fuck about our new Bluray players and our Old Navy sweaters.

Now I have been done with my Christmas shopping since September, so perhaps I have absolutely no room to talk. But that wasn’t about getting into the Christmas season, prancing around in my santa hat and sipping egg nog and shit when Labor Day was just passing by. It was about avoiding these assfucks on Black Friday and thereafter altogether.

And while I am generally anti-holiday, being far away from my family and stuck in a pretty awkward and dysfunctional location, I also would like to just enjoy Thanksgiving without the retailers cramming their shit down my throat before my turkey’s even fully digested yet. It’s relaxing to have a lot of people gone and out of town. It’s nice to have my husband around to clean up some of the shit around here.

OK, so if you are a retailer, please kindly consider shutting the fuck up until it’s actually Black Friday. If you are into this early Black Friday stuff, fine; just don’t ask me to get in line outside the Beanie Baby Outlet at fucking 8 o’clock on Thursday. And if you are smart, you’ll do what I did, as well as some of my friends: Amazon, bitch. I have no idea why anyone would go anywhere else. Those Buy 1 Get 5 Free turtlenecks just aren’t worth it.

Next up on the countdown? Day 2: explaining the correlation between the genocide of innocent Native Americans, and shoving turkey down our throats in celebration, to your kids.