R.V. Doon

Thanksgiving, Sports, and Shopping? Why the hoopla?

I’m so happy the elections are over because now I don’t curse every time my phone rings. I also grew tired of the political ads, and I don’t even live in a swing state. I’m glad it’s over but instead of sliding into Thanksgiving Day preparations there is another story breaking. No, it isn’t a sex scandal.

It seems some retailers claim that shoppers have begged them to open on Thanksgiving Day afternoon and these stores, all famous for their blue ribbon customer service said, “Yes, we will.” Then the workers are scheduled to work ruining their holiday feast and family time. One young woman started an online petition against Thanksgiving Day creep by asking stores to preserve their whole off day with their family. I give C. Renee full credit for a savvy campaign and by dubbing the term holiday creep.

Maybe I’m different, but I know of no better way than to kill off the American greed holiday, also known as Black Friday, than for retail stores to open on Thanksgiving afternoon. Talk about diluting the mega force of Black Friday shopping. What were they thinking?

Retail stores made up their own holiday without approval or permission from government when they dreamed up or stumbled upon the concept of Black Friday. People loved it and worked it into their tradition and now retail wants to change the holiday and make it even bigger. Have they gone too far? I think opening stores on Thursday might kill the American embarrassment, Black Friday, stone cold dead. The crazy, wild build up to the Black Friday shopping day–gone forever. The Black Friday supporters will be miffed because the good deals will have to be on Thursday, won’t they?

Retail managers are taking a big gamble by diluting the funky concept of Black Friday. And once Black Friday is killed, it’s all over. It might take a year or two but then shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday will go away like blue laws. Yea! If you hate the creep and want to stop it, all the people have to do is prove the management teams were wrong and not go shopping.

Just think by killing off Black Friday we won’t read stories of people being trampled, or see people fighting over a product and willing to cause physical injuries to get it, or babies being abandoned while mom searches for a TV . We might even, gasp, not see Christmas decorations until, well, December, if Thanksgiving Day shopping fails. Wouldn’t that be sweet? We can enjoy each holiday as they happen and not months before their date.

As a nurse working the hospital shifts, I got only one of the big three holidays off every year–Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years Eve. Never all three. If I got Thanksgiving off one year, I knew without a shadow of doubt I’d have to work it the following year. I also knew if I got Thanksgiving off and another nurse quit, I’d have to give up my holiday and time with my family to serve the health care system. (I was told I slaved for my patients.) I was able to get two out of three holidays after working many years in the same hospital, but again that alternated. When I worked night shift, I sometimes got the holiday off but had to work the night before, so forgive me if I have very little sympathy for the plight of the retail workers.

Yeah, retail workers, I’d like you to have your holiday off, but when you get chest pains after stuffing yourself will you wait at home so hospital people and ambulance people can spend the holidays with their beloved families?

I think not.

Some might suggest that I shouldn’t compare retail workers and hospital people working holidays. Why not? What about police and fire people do they get holidays off? If retail people start a grease fire while basting the turkey, do they put it out or do they call the fire department on Thanksgiving Day? What makes retail people so special? After all, they aren’t going to save anyone’s life. OK, maybe somewhere a retail person manages to save someone’s life but it’s rare.

Let me bottom line this. If regular people want to shop on Thanksgiving Day, because its the only day they get off until after Christmas, why should retail people complain? Retail stores are in it for profit. No profit and there are no jobs for retail workers. If people don’t shop, they won’t open up next year. I say let the people decide. If you support retail workers having the holiday off with their families, then don’t shop, and to really deliver the message loud and clear, don’t shop on Black Friday either. In other words, put your money into your beliefs.

I hope it works out for the retail people, but I suspect the other people will shop. They will shop on Thanksgiving because they’re women and don’t want to watch sports. They will shop on Thanksgiving because they have been away from home for years and want to see who they can run into. They will shop because their girlfriends got the day off too. They will shop because holidays mean tension and they need to blow off steam. They will shop because there is nothing else to do because their football team is having a bad year, (sorry, Auburn fans). They will shop because they can’t recline because they ate too much. They will shop so they can leave the kids with the grandparents.

Sorry, retail people. Like it or not you’re about to join an elite team. You might end up working Thanksgiving Day just like hospital people, police people, fire people, ambulance people, combat soldiers, and heck….all kinds of people. You’re in good company. It was such a comfort to me while I worked shorthanded on holidays knowing I wasn’t alone. My advice is to report to work with a full belly because you will hit the ground running. Welcome to the holiday workforce!



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