Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Madness

This is actually a little more like Friday Madness, or Thursday Madness, since Thanksgiving and Black Friday are what this entry is about.

I have to work on Thanksgiving. And not just Thanksgiving morning; I have to work from 4 pm to 11 pm. Which means the Thanksgiving Dinner plans I had are now "Thanksgiving Lunch" plans, and I'm very, VERY grateful to my hostess for changing her schedule for me.

So back to this working on Thanksgiving thing. I work in retail. I always have. I've worked in various stores, and I've never had to work on Thanksgiving before. The earliest I've had to go in was 4 am on Black Friday. Which sucked, but I understood. That company is opening at midnight this year. Another company I used to work for is opening at 9 pm Thanksgiving night. Other companies are opening at 8 pm, or earlier. The company I currently work for is open 4 pm to 11 pm on Thanksgiving Day, and opening again at 7 am Black Friday.

WHY?! Why do companies do this to their workers? Thanksgiving is listed as a Federal Holiday, but soon it will only be Federal Employees that get the day off. Retail almost never pays Holiday Pay. Only full time workers get that, and those are few and far between in the retail business. So while full-time people, federal workers, and union workers all get paid to NOT work on Thanksgiving, we get paid time-and-a-half TO work. Which means, in comparison, we really only get paid half-wages. If you go off the basis of people getting Holiday Pay. Half-wages to work on Thanksgiving.

Because consumers will come out to the sales. Everyone complains about what this does to workers - but they still go shop the sales. If you want this to stop, it begins with you. YOU must stop shopping Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. YOU have to vote with your wallet, and stop supporting these practices. Unless the consumer - YOU - stops giving in to the marketing, corporations will continue to open their stores earlier and earlier, and make their employees miss more and more of their "holiday", to rake in the sales.

We talk about the over-commercialization of Christmas. It's now branching into Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is no longer a time to enjoy good food with your family, but a time to pig out until it's time to go to the stores and shop. Or a day to sneak out of dinner and go visit the sales. I would really like to be able to spend Thanksgiving dinner with the people I love, but instead my husband will be home alone and I will be catering to shoppers. Shoppers who will probably wish me Happy Thanksgiving, and ask "why are you working on Thanksgiving?" not understanding that it's because THEY ARE SHOPPING.

So please. From one person to another. (Because though I work retail, I AM STILL A PERSON.) If you know someone who works retail, or if you have ever worked retail yourself - skip shopping on Thanksgiving. Skip Black Friday. Send a message to retailers that this has gone far enough. You can wait eight hours to get that half price TV or that blouse for 70% off. You don't need craft supplies while your family is eating Thanksgiving dinner. Tell retailers you'd like to wait and get a little bit of sleep. We employees will thank you for it.

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