More than likely, someone around your dining table will bring up the Thanksgiving day shopping argument. I appears this is the hot topic of the past week and people in the no-shopping group have vehemently opposed the idea of retailers and restaurants being open on Thanksgiving day. They have started Facebook groups, social media campaigns, and have created retailer “naughty lists” of those whose doors are open on this oh so sacred of secular holidays. I keep hearing an argument for the forlorn employees who would rather be Home with their families as opposed to working on such a day as this. The whole argument doesn’t make sense to me.
You may find this controversial if you are in the no-shop club, but it is not an issue to me for retailers to open their doors today. And I do not think they are wrong to ask their employees to work today. We have no entitlement to days off of work. We all make decisions that lead to consequences. If you have made the decision to work in the retail industry, you should not be surprised when you are asked to work on a holiday that makes up a large percentage of retail revenues for the year. If you do not want to work holidays, get a job in an industry that is closed on the holidays. Simple.
This is America. We all have freedoms.
I also find it odd that evil retailers are the only ones targeted for having people work on Thanksgiving. It seems to me people have forgotten, if you are a living person, you are also forcing people to work today even if you do not eat out or shop. We are a consumer nation and we consume more than what the mall offers.
Did you plan on watching a parade today? Then you are contributing to the need for cameramen, anchors, announcers, and layers of personnel to work hard to provide you with entertainment while you relax on your couch. Are you planning to watch that parade or maybe a ball game on your tv? Or turn on a lamp or stove? What if your electricity or cable went out? Would you call someone to fix the issue or respectfully wait till Friday to call an inform someone of your need so they can enjoy their family time?
What if your turkey fryer catches the house on fire? Would you let your house burn so the firemen could have an uninterrupted day with their family?
What if you were in labor? Would you cross your legs and say “no, no, not today… For today is Thanksgiving”?
How about the guards at your local prison? Should the guards go home for pumpkin pie and leave the inmates to contain themselves on their honor?
What about the farmers who raised the food you are eating? Farming is a24/7 kind of job. Livestock eat everyday, even Thanksgiving. And we certainly cannot forget our law enforcement and military who protect our freedom to stay home and eat our own turkey in safety while they stand guard for those freedoms.
In truth, unless you live with no public utilities, in a remote area, raising all your own food and livestock, you are requiring people to show up for work on thanksgiving. And if you are living off the grid, I would bet you are working today for what you have and not reading this post.
Some of us will need help today. We will need our community to continue functioning because not to do our part would lead to chaos.
Now I am not saying we should all go shop till we drop. To be completely honest, I have never been Black Friday shopping that I can remember. I try to avoid all stores other than the grocery store between Thanksgiving and the New Year. That is a personal decision. I like shopping to be fun not elbow to elbow retail warfare.
I just find this argument of not wanting retail and foodservice employees to be “forced” into work on Thanksgiving to be short sided. Thanksgiving is not an employment issue. It amazes me that in a land where all men and women are created equal, it is painfully obvious that not employment is given the same respect if being equally important. Is it ok for nurses and firemen to work because there jobs are galant, while a person who stocks shelves or washes dishes can be asked a different standard? I truly believe to not respect someone right to work and their employment is to disrespect and devalue that individual. Whatever your contribution to your community is, your job should be approached with the upmost enthusiasm. If you do not have enthusiasm, find a job that will give you joy or get a better attitude.
I am certain the wives and husbands of every cardiologist called away on the #1 day for heart attacks would much prefer their spouse by their side. But I do not see people up in arms about against high fat foods and overeating on behalf of the poor cardiologists.
For me, this argument boiled down to one societal ideal, value. And not the black Friday save 40% kind.
If you are called to do work for the community, we must endeavor to do it well. We must value our contributions and not feel inconsequential to the whole. My hopes the individuals called to work on Thanksgiving is that they give their best and see that they are an integral part of society, whatever their employment. In return, we should value those who are working today on our behalf and thanking them for their service.
What does it mean to make a statement like, “I won’t eat out on Thanksgiving because I don’t want the restaurant workers to have to leave their families to feed mine” ? Does that mean they needlessly work on the other days where they serve your dinner? Should they be at home with their families and friends then as well?
The problem with this mindset is thinking these “service” industry jobs are instead the “servant” industry. As if someone who is a food “servant” needs protection from the evil restaurant owners ruthlessly requiring them to work. Or is it that you respect the right for a waiter staff and cooks to need the day off for their families but doctors and nurses aren’t afforded the same respect. Where is the logic?
Stop to consider that many hourly employees would loose 20% of their income for the week if they did not work Thanksgiving day. I say if a person wants to work, let them work. If a retailer wants or needs to open it doors, there are enough people who would choose to work to make it happen. On the other hand, if your family does not want to shop or eat out, just don’t do it. No need to make a villain out of capitalism.
Just keep in mind, the issue of consumerism on Thanksgiving is not an employment issue, and our reactions to the matter should not be based on our personal views of employment standards. The retailers have not created the problem. They are providing what society has asked for. In my mind, it is not so much the question of whether we should or should not shop on Thanksgiving.
We instead should evaluate, why so many people would choose to spend their time in a crowded store buying more stuff in a day set aside to be thankful for what we already have.
So I think the better question is: what are you doing in your house to show all generations the value in sitting down to enjoy a meal together. Is the beauty of sharing a few hours in the name of gratitude for the past, present, and future obvious at your gathering? Or is everybody just stuffing their face and miserable the rest of the day?
This is a great time to evaluate what your personal standards for a day of gratitude are. And if you are called to work today, lift up your spirits and know that those who chose to work with a gleeful heart will be happier than those who do not.
Now I want to hear from you. Tell me what you think, where you shopped, where you worked, how you expressed joy, when you woke up today, set me straight, or anything else. One commenter on this blog post will be chosen at random to win a $25 visa gift card. A winner will be chosen on December 10, 2013.