Wednesday, November 21, 2012

my take on Black Friday

Every year there is a lot of talk about Black Friday leading up to the largest shopping day of the year.

I think Black Friday is great - there are a lot of people out there who love it and it is a great boost for our economy!

What I don't love, is the opening of stores on Thanksgiving Day.

I was watching The View on Monday, all the employee strikes and petitions against working Thanksgiving day were the topic of choice. 

The justification that so many use for it being "okay" for stores to be open on Thanksgiving Day is that employees are well compensated for their time spent away from their families. 

If you haven't worked retail, particularly "Big Box" retail, let me tell you how it works.
YOU are selected to work, if you are the "new kid". Not because you're new, but because they don't pay you Holiday pay yet!  Of course Corporate tells America, "but they're compensated" or "we asked for volunteers". And yes, if you walk into your neighborhood Walmart, there will be some employees working receiving Holiday pay. The majority however, will be separated from their families running a register at their normal hourly wage, and chances are they didn't get a say in it.

How do I know? The first Thanksgiving without my Mom, the same year that I graduated college and couldn't find work; I worked at Walmart in the photo department. 

Thanksgiving Day I worked a full 8 hour shift.
I tried to explain that I wanted to be with my family... but I was the new kid.
Everyone else in my department would have gotten Holiday pay to work.

I went home, ate a quick "thanksgiving" meal with John (my then-fiance who was also working at a different Walmart and having to work Thanksgiving), slept for a couple of hours and went back to work. From Thanksgiving Day into Black Friday, I worked 20 out of a 24 hour period. No holiday pay, no overtime pay. Squat {except of course the barely above minimum wage I was earning}.

I had then crossed over into a new pay period, so later that week I showed up to my scheduled shift and was sent home because I was going to get over time - oh no!


I get it, America is all about convenience, so there's no way that stores are going to all shut down on Thanksgiving. I don't see why we can't go back to the days of my childhood though, your local grocery store opened for a few hours in the morning to assist those (like me) who would forget an essential ingredient in the days festivities. Then about noon, close their doors so that their employees can spend time with their families before having to be back at the crack of dawn the next day to assist the crazy crowds of Holiday Shoppers.

So... Shopping/ working on black Friday at 3am or midnight is "good .. But shopping/ working at 9pm on thanksgiving is "bad". #hmm

The issue isn't the 9:00 pm store openings... it's the fact they were open all day!
{and by the way, it makes it nearly impossible for thousands to travel on Thanksgiving}

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