by Kris Mason
"There is no longer a clear start to the Holiday Shopping Season. Black Friday Sales throughout the month of November is just one example of how a single, simple day has been destroyed. Promotions like Cyber Monday starts Saturday and Door Busters Every Two Hours weren’t enough to push people over the edge. I personally don’t understand how I’m supposed to want to bust down a door that’s already open.
It was called black Friday before it was ever marketed as “Black Friday.” The day after Thanksgiving marked the day that began the Christmas Shopping Season. See, the term is so old, it has been around since you could call “Holiday” shopping what it really is; and on that Friday, retailers begin operating in the “black” for the first time for the year rather than in the “red.”
Once the internet took over there were suddenly websites that were huge databases for Black Friday sale prices. Shoppers became strategic and retailers grew increasingly more and more aggressive. Friday morning, 6am openings turned into 5am and then 4am; people kept showing up each time the opening was pushed back earlier and earlier.
And then came… the tipping point... Midnight.
Some people called, 'foul!'; how could that money monster, Walmart, force it's employees to do this? But midnight became 10pm, which became 8pm, which became 6pm. Lines were blurred now. Is it Black Friday or Black Thursday? People on social media exploded with outrage. 'How dare the retailers expect people to work on Thanksgiving! This is some serious, sacred family time you’re messing with, Big Business!'
Where is this venom coming from and why is it so… misplaced? There is such a huge public discourse about taking retail workers away from their family in the name of the all mighty buck; so much so that some thirty plus retailers this year are making a public declaration that they will be closed on Thanksgiving.
But it’s not just misplaced outrage, but hypocritical, selective outrage. In thirty years of waiting tables, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been home, all day with my family, on Thanksgiving. Three of them were because I was lucky enough to be working for a family that closed their restaurant for the holiday.
"I’m just suggesting that you can all drop the false outrage."
We all work on Thanksgiving. We take care of the people who don’t cook or can’t cook, or would simply rather somebody else do all the cooking and cleaning so you don’t “miss time with your family.” Nobody gives a damn that we do this; you expect us to be there. Retailers are supposed to have a free pass on this day while countless other industries toil unnoticed.
Your expectation of how many people should be there for you is absurd. You expect the NFL to send six teams to play each other in three cities and all the stadium workers and all the broadcast professionals in front of and behind the cameras to all not be with their families so that that you can enjoy your “day that nobody should have to work.” And it’s not just Thanksgiving, it’s all holidays.
You can find us pouring your champagne as you ring in the New Year. We make your Valentines dinner romantic. We take care of you and your family on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We bring you all together for three day weekends and Easter Brunch. We’re even open on the days when you are supposed to be in your own backyard doing your own grilling, like Memorial Day, Labor Day and the 4th of July. And unlike the days when it was only Chinese food restaurants, most major hospitality chains and fast food operators are even open on Christmas.
This is not a rant. It isn't a complaint or even a cry for sympathy. I’m just suggesting that you can all drop the false outrage and simply admit that your plea for keeping families united over the holidays doesn’t include the families of our Military, Police and Fire Fighters, Doctors and Nurses, Hotel workers, Airline Pilots and Flight Attendants, Radio and Televison Crews and Anchors, Cooks and Dishwashers in Restaurants and Fast Food Chains, Movie Theater Employees and Sports Franchises, Convenient Store Clerks and Gas Station Attendants, Cab Drivers and Bus Drivers and the countless people who support the above mentioned industries behind the scenes; basically, anybody else who makes your personal family experience safer and more enjoyable.
So in the name of giving thanks and good will and holiday cheer and all that, be mindful of those who can’t be with their families so that you can enjoy yours. Be humble, kind, thankful, joyous, compassionate, gracious, thoughtful, merry, caring, cheerful and above all else, generous.
You can start by sharing this post with anyone you know who has to clock in this Thanksgiving day.
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