Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Retail thanks

I keep seeing a lot of posts from people saying they will avoid shopping Thanksgiving Day sales because if they're shopping, someone is working, and if someone is working, that someone isn't with his or her family.

I get it; your family loves Thanksgiving. It's full of warmth and love and good food and laughter and football and family time. Yay. But not everyone feels the same. So before you judge big retailers or other shoppers, consider a few things. Such as...
  • This isn't new. Just because certain retailers are open earlier this year than in years past doesn't mean they invented the concept. Have you ever run out of milk or napkins before putting the final touches on the big meal? I have - and boy was I thankful that the nearest grocery store was open. The sign on the door said they were closing at 3 so their employees could enjoy the holiday.
  • Which brings up an interesting point. A lot of families eat early on Thanksgiving. Having worked in retail for a long time, I can tell you - they will go nuts tonight fixing things just so, allowing employees to arrive at work tomorrow at the very last second. If the store opens at 8 pm, those employees had time to enjoy a holiday that started at 9 am.
  • You're forgetting why these people have these jobs in the first place - to earn money. Stores pay time-and-a-half on holidays; full-time employees will make double-time-and-a-half because they get paid for the holiday, too. That's like earning half a weeks pay check in one day. What would you do with that money this time of year? A lot of those employees are thankful for the chance to earn a little extra.
  • The other employees? Those are college and high school students just thankful for a chance to escape their dysfunctional family on the most awkward and mind-numbingly boring night of the year. Trust me. I was one.
  • Those retailers you're avoiding because of how they're treating their employees on this one day? Some of them treat their employees terribly all year long - and you're still giving them your money. Joke's on you.
  • How about all those holidays that you don't celebrate, where someone is "stuck" working so you can be shopping?
I won't shop on Thanksgiving because I don't like crowds. I don't shop on Black Friday because when I left retail a million years ago, I vowed never to go back to a store on that day.

But if people want to spend their holiday shopping, I say have at it. Spending money supports the economy. It keeps people you're not even thinking about employed, with food on their table, heat in their homes, and kids with smiles on Christmas morning.

That's worth some thanks.


  1. I like it! Several of the above points ring true for me, also not every family celebrates on Thursday..or at all

    1. Excellent point - I didn't even give any thought to people for whom it just isn't a holiday they celebrate.