Here at Everything Finance, we look at all things money from a variety of angles. Today, in light of the upcoming holiday season, I’d like to focus on consumerism versus family.
Our economy needs a boost, and one way retailers are attempting to infuse a jolt of much-needed cash into their yearly earnings is by capitalizing on Black Friday.
Simple. Many of the biggest retailers are opening their doors on Thanksgiving night this year instead of waiting until early Friday morning. This has caused outrage among the hourly employees who work in the stores, and many are attempting to fight back by making their voices heard.
Stores Opening on Thanksgiving Eve
It seems that stores are competing against one another in the battle to open earliest this year. So far, it seems like 8 p.m. is the magic hour. Sears is planning to open then and remain open for 26 hours straight. Toys R Us, WalMart, and K-Mart are also on the 8 p.m. bandwagon, with all three promoting sales that will draw crowds and holiday shopping frenzy like gangbusters.
It should be noted that some chains are open on Thanksgiving Day. This includes drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. For the sake of this article, however, we’re focusing on Black Friday deal hours. These are times when employees will not only be working but will also be dealing with large-scale holiday crowds, and the earliest the sales begin across the board seems to be 8 p.m Thanksgiving night.
Employees Fight Back
Working on Black Friday is no picnic. I write from experience – I worked that day for many years during college, and it’s nothing short of brutal. Shoppers are frantic and already frazzled from Thanksgiving stress. They’re tired. Really angry. And there are a lot of them.
Asking an employee to leave the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day to deal with mobs of deal-hungry consumers just doesn’t seem ethical to me. And I’m not alone – one Target employee took the initiate to start a Change.org petition that immediately went viral. At the time of this writing, it had over 200,000 signatures and counting. Here’s the letter to Target’s CEO included in her plea:
The Future of Holiday Shopping
According to Rich Milgram, CEO of career network Beyond.com, Labor Day and Memorial Day were once days of rest, too. He points out that sales and open stores on those days are now the norm. The change illustrates that, over time, society grows accustomed to the changes and demands of the free market. [Source: CNN.com]
So, where should we draw the line as a society? We’re all working together to dig out of this financial hole we’re in, but should we do so at the expense of the long-standing American traditions we all hold so dear? Or, is this just the next step in a purely profit-seeking society? Is anything sacred anymore?