I heard on the radio this morning that Old Navy will be open on Thanksgiving. Target and Walmart are also planning special hours on Thursday. Personally, I will be avoiding all these stores, but it is not an anti-consumption stance. I just feel terrible for all those employees forced to work on Thanksgiving.
I’ve been there. When I worked at Borders I worked July 4th, Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Day, Easter, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Years Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and pretty much any holiday I forgot to list. The sacred days, the two where no matter how exhausting or stressful the year had been, the two that were a guaranteed day off, were Thanksgiving and Christmas. Black Friday looms over every retail worker, whether they work at Borders or Walgreens. But Thanksgiving was the calm before the storm, and now even that is being taken away from everyone who works at retailers so desperate for business they are open tomorrow.
Before you tell me it’s okay because at least those workers are being paid, let’s look at some basic math. I don’t know the bonus structure for every store, but let’s use the baseline example. The average retailer worker probably makes around $8.50-$9.50/hour. Assuming time and a half for a holiday, working on Thanksgiving nets them $12.75-$14.25/hour. So for an 8 hour shift the retail worker on Thanksgiving nets additional $38 for the day before taxes (roughly). Hardly a glamorous amount of money, and it is certainly a low incentive considering they have to give up a holiday the rest of the USA takes for granted.
And if you are planning to swing through Big Box Retailer on your way to Grandma’s house, please be nice to the person working there. Remember that they are working while you are off to relax and fight with relatives, so smile and say thank you. In fact, throughout the holiday season, make sure you’re extra nice to the individual with a cheap plastic name tag and (possibly) an uncomfortable polyester polo shirt. Chances are they haven’t had a day off in a week, and it’s insulting to say they’re working for peanuts — at least nuts would provide some protein. 😉
For any readers who will be working retail this holiday season, good luck. I will be thinking of you as I drive past malls, and hope no one tortures you with impossible demands, screams in your face, or calls you vile names for wanting to finally close an hour after the official closing time on Christmas Eve. Be strong, and remember: they still haven’t taken away Christmas Day, so there’s a light at the end of that heavily discounted tunnel.