I keep seeing this all over my Facebook. I believe in family so I’m not shopping on Thanksgiving. They’re visiting family, and traveling, and shopping on “Black Friday” but nope, not shopping on Thanksgiving because “Everyone Deserves a Holiday.”
Think about that for a minute. EVERYONE DESERVES A HOLIDAY. Yes, they do. Does everyone GET a holiday? No.
I’ve worked retail- I worked it in high school, and again during breaks in college, and after I got married to help make ends meet. Guess what? Even if we were “closed” to the public on Thanksgiving, if we were open on Black Friday, people worked on Thanksgiving. The special items that people line up for around the shop to get at midnight or 6 am? They were delivered on Thanksgiving, and the store had to be set up and queued for the mad rush for shoppers who grabbed and tore through stock and fought with each other, then yelled at US when things were gone.
I have family members who are in medical services- they don’t get a holiday. The hospitals don’t close, the ERs don’t close, the EMTs will show up to your door when you need them. There are clinics that are open, and drug stores and pharmacies that are still open.
Hospitality doesn’t get a holiday- the airports are open, with the planes and gates going, security (for all we can argue about it) working, and food service going. Hotels are open, giant theme parks running. No holiday. Giant football games that take thousands of people to run, including food stand workers and ushers who have to pay for their own uniforms and food, and walk miles to the stadium because stadium owners are too cheap to build an employee lot or even to run a bus to the designated distant employee parking areas. There’s a huge parade, too. Are those people on “holiday”?
Entertainment doesn’t take a holiday. Movie theaters are open, restaurants are open, dinner theaters are sometimes open, even Broadway shows are open- depends on how big of an area you live in.
Transportation doesn’t stop because it’s Thanksgiving- trains and trucks still move across the country, buses still move people from place to place. You get your Black Friday specials because those drivers, engineers, software designers, and other people you don’t know about are either working or on call to solve problems that may arise.
Services are running- you have water, sewer, electricity, cable, news, phone, cell phones, internet, everything that we think is “necessary” for life, and that takes people. Your heat (or AC depending on where you live) goes out, you can call a 24 hour service person and they’ll disrupt THEIR holiday to fix yours.
Despite the atrocity of the fire and police in Ferguson, there are good men and women out there serving in the fire and police departments around the countries, and they work on Thanksgiving. They have their station Thanksgivings or house Thanksgivings, but not with their family.
We have service members across the country, and whether you believe the cause they’re fighting for or stationed for is right or not, they are part of us, part of EVERYONE. Yet they don’t get a holiday.
Not having a HOLIDAY isn’t something new. People in retail who have experience know that it comes with the territory. What’s new is that the stores, which are answering to the consumers who want bargains, and which are trying to reduce those same consumers’ madness and fighting, have started opening up the stores earlier. By opening up the stores, and meeting demand, it’s pushed up the work schedule.
What’s the answer? There is no one easy answer, but these can help:
- MOVE THE MEAL TO ACCOMMODATE THE WORK SCHEDULE. Odds are, when they took that retail job they were told they’d have to work holidays. It’s not set in stone that Thanksgiving meal has to be at a certain time because it’s always been that way. Have it later, have it earlier. Have it on Friday.
- BRING THE MEAL TO THEM. Is there a huge break room somewhere, and does where they work allow people in it? Bring a second Thanksgiving meal and share it with their co-workers.
- HAVE TWO THANKSGIVINGS. Have family in town that just won’t work things any other way but the traditional way? Have one the way that the ‘family’ wants it, and then one for when the person gets home.
- BUCK TRADITION ENTIRELY. Who says you have to have a Thanksgiving meal? Our best Thanksgivings so far where when we gave up the “traditional” spins and pressures, and started having our own. Get together when you can. If it’s not until Sunday, then have Thanksgiving Sunday. Schedule doesn’t allow time to cook? Forget the formal turkey and stuffing, and enjoy some special time together that doesn’t add to stress, schedule, or budget.
There are a lot of different things you can do. Not shopping on Thanksgiving is not going to “save Thanksgiving” because there’s nothing to save. Thanksgiving cannot be inflicted upon others. Thanksgiving as a holiday is personal, and is what you make out of it. It’s a holiday of saying thanks.
Say thanks for what you have, and who you have. Say thanks to the people you encounter, to the public service people who treat you properly, who serve you well, and whom you’re friends with. Say thanks to the family and friends who support you, and say thanks for the blessings that you have.
That’s what Thanksgiving is after all: Giving thanks for your blessings.