Retailers have their own self-serving excuses for opening their stores on our national holiday. But those who want to shop, just like to argue, or seem to miss the point have come up with some interesting thinking to justify this terrible trend as well. Here are some of the most common reasons I've heard for shopping on Thanksgiving, along with why they are completely wrong or wrong-headed:
- A lot of employees volunteer and don't mind.
WRONG: Some do volunteer but many, if not most, are forced to work or risk losing their jobs and would rather be home with those they love.
- Employees get extra pay.
OFTEN WRONG: In a double 'screw you' to workers, some companies are finding creative ways around bonus time pay.
- They don't have to work at these stores!
A.) CALLOUS; B.) Dismissive of the fact that somebody does have to work if you're shopping! C.) When did it become so uncool to care about other people in this country?
- We do it as a family.
MAY BE NICE FOR YOUR FAMILY: but what about other families whose holiday is being ruined because someone has to go into work to serve you? Just do it Friday.
- Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving
TRUE: but not a good justification for destroying our national holiday. Take the day off. Read a good book. Clean out your garage. Just don't make others work because you don't care.
- Stores provide a nice place for lonely people to go.
POSSIBLY TRUE: and sad. Citizens? Churches? Communities? What can you do? Don't let malls be the go-to for lonely people. Surely we can do better than that!
- You can't tell us what to do!
VERY TRUE: not to mention selfish—and adolescent. (Sorry adolescents)
- I've been working holidays for years and no one ever cared about me!
A.) THAT STINKS AND SORRY; B.) Why take it out on workers who didn't cause your pain? C.) Where do you work? We can start a campaign for you!
- What about gas stations, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, etc?
GOOD POINT: and an opportunity to consider what your need for convenience and outside entertainment does to others. Options: Fill up on Weds; Eat at home; Sleep on your relative's couch; Watch a pay-per-view movie at home or play a card game or something. You can handle it!
- What about nurses, police, fire fighters, utility workers, news people, etc?
EXCELLENT OBSERVATION: Though how people can compare these fine folks and retailers wanting to get customers to buy stuff is beyond me. There's no comparison. In fact, to all those who really do have to work and miss family time so that we can stay safe and supported - you deserve our deepest appreciation! Which—if we're lucky enough—we will said during our Thanksgiving gathering.
- It's too late to change it.
FALSE: We can change it. All we need to do is not shop on Thanksgiving and not support retailers who disrespect this holiday and their workers.
Don't shop on Thanksgiving. And this holiday season, please support those businesses—both national and local—who care.
Haven't taken the pledge? Or want to join the conversation? Find us on facebook at Save Thanksgiving
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Annie Zirkel, LPC is a Positive Relationship Consultant, speaker and author based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Between facilitating the 30 Days of Gratitude Project and writing You'll Thank Me Later: A Guide to Raising Grateful Children (and why that matters), she has claimed Thanksgiving as her holiday and has become a tad protective!