This is another thing that just sits in my craw. All this hullabaloo about stores opening on Thanksgiving. For the record, I have zero intention of going to the stores this weekend, let alone on Thanksgiving day. But I don’t make a big deal over the ones that do. I have a friend who lives in Texas and I remember last year on Thanksgiving she was posting pictures of her and her kids standing in line to get into the stores. She labeled a few of them as creating memories. She was doing this not so much to get a big bargain, but for her kids to remember those moments spent with mom and dad on Thanksgiving. Again, I wouldn’t do it. But who am I to tell her she can’t or that she is somehow a bad person because she chooses to?
Another thing that really gets me is the total lack of concern for those that work at restaurants that happen to be open on Thanksgiving. There are plenty of people who can’t be bothered to cook a large meal and go out for dinner. Do you think that the dishwashers in that restaurant are getting big tips? Not likely. They too are away from their families. So are the chefs/cooks. What about the cater waiters who go to people homes to help serve meals? Yes that does happen. Do you think that those people don’t have families like the poor abused Wal-Mart worker?
Look, I have long ago thought that the holiday season has become so commercialized that “the reason for the season” has gotten lost. That is the society we live in. That is the society that we have chosen for ourselves. This isn’t be pushed upon us by Wal-Mart. I remember when I was a kid I was in the family station wagon driving to our destination on Thanksgiving morning and my parents being worried about having enough gas to get back home. There were no open gas stations back then. There were no open grocery stores for those items that you didn’t remember to buy on your trip for your family meal. You had to make due. But today virtually every major grocery store chain is open for at least part of the day. Oh yeah, they are primarily unionized so the cries for them aren’t quite as loud.
Yes, Thanksgiving should be about family. But the fact is that people have been working on holidays for generations now. Do you think those football stadiums aren’t staffed? I have a Christmastime birthday and I am a long-suffering life-long Knicks fan. I was trying to decide what to do for my birthday this year and was thinking about going to a Knicks game since I am now back in the New York area. They are playing on Christmas Day. Do you have any idea how badly I want to go to that game? I found about it far too late and it is all sold out and I am way too cheap to pay the exorbitant prices that tickets are going for at this stage, but let me tell you, I would love to be sitting in the stands on that day. Does that make me a bad person? How exactly is that different from Wal-Mart being open? People will be working won’t they?
People decide for themselves what is family tradition and how that time is spent with said family. There are people who have very tight budgets for Christmas gifts and the deals that are sometimes available during these big events are more than they can resist. I have another friend who when her children were young, didn’t have a great deal of money and her daughter wanted a doll. That doll was on sale for three hours on the middle of the night. She got her butt out of bed and went and got it. Why? Because she couldn’t have afforded it otherwise and that was the one thing her little girl really wanted. That was important to her. You may view it a different way, but for her and her daughter it was something special.
This is yet one more example of people trying to use something for a political goal. This isn’t about people missing time with their families. This is about unionizing Wal-Mart. If this were simply about people working during “family time” they would be complaining about all the other businesses that will be open on Thanksgiving Day. When you start worrying about the servers, the dishwashers, the unionized grocery store workers, then we will talk.