I'm getting a little tired of the "No one should have to work at (insert retailer's name here) on Thanksgiving" crowd. Yes, it's pathetic that we have a nation of shoppers who can't wait another six hours to buy gifts for people who will have completely forgotten that they even got that gift, and who it was from, by the Super Bowl. But the idea that "no one should have to be away from their families" is hypocritical.
We don't shut down hospitals on Thanksgiving (or Christmas for that matter) do we? Don't those people "deserve to be with their families" just as much as the cashier at Walmart? How about the Fire Department workers who respond to the turkey fryer fires? Or the policemen who break up the drunken fights between your uncles over President Obama's latest unconstitutional Executive Order? Or the ambulance drivers who pick up everyone that ate the underdone dark meat on the turkey and are now sick to their stomachs? Where is the "outrage" that they have to work?
Sure you can say those are "essential services" that must be staffed 24/7/365. But how about the camera guys who are shooting the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade? Or the people in the production trucks for the three football games on Thursday? Or the guy working the board in the radio station studio and playing the commercials during the game broadcast for those listening in their cars? Do you get all high and mighty and condemn everyone that tunes in for those broadcasts because "they are taking someone away from their families"? How willing would you be to sit in the living room for eight hours on Thursday and not have football to keep everyone from actually having to talk to each other?
And what about the people who work at gas stations and convenience stores? You'd prefer that there be no way to fill up your car when you are running low on the way back from Grandma's house in the cold and the dark? Fast food restaurants are open as well--for those who just need a quick bite to eat or who don't have anyone cooking up a major feast for them. Movie theaters are open on Thanksgiving--and so are bars. In fact, I've seen some of the busiest nights of the year in taverns on Turkey day--since so many people have off of work the next day. All of those bartenders and waitresses should be at home too?
And what about the people that really need the money they are being paid for working on Thanksgiving? For some, it may be time and a half or overtime? Maybe that one day of work will cover the cost of just as big a meal with just as many family members on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Or it might put a few extra gifts for their kids under the tree at Christmas. They should be denied the opportunity to make that cash just because their working (of their own free will) "offends" your sensibilities?
I have shopped at Festival Foods on several Thanksgivings recently--always because I forgot to pick something up the week before--or maybe I thought I had enough of some ingredient but it turns out I didn't. And while I did feel a little bit guilty, I also appreciated that I was able to purchase what I needed for that day. And I've taken to the habit of thanking the cashier at the checkout for being on the job to serve me that morning. It would be great if the Walmart and Target and Macy's shoppers would do the same Thursday night.