“My family doesn’t plan to eat dinner until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so I won’t be spending Thanksgiving with them, basically,” said the twenty-something worker, who spoke on condition that his name not be used, citing a fear of getting fired. “The whole thing seems over the top. I don’t see why you can’t just open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday and close at 10 p.m.”
By doing a little reporting, Martinez got the Times a perfect example of the serious problems with stores opening on Thanksgiving.
Finally, Bloomberg News has a very good story on the Thanksgiving labor angle, reporting that unions are being energized by the backlash and putting retail creep into context:
Macy’s Inc., whose annual Manhattan parade is a cherished Thanksgiving tradition for millions, is starting a new holiday ritual: It’s asking its employees to show up for work.
Pressured by competition, a shorter shopping season and lackluster consumer spending, at least a dozen U.S. mega-retailers are opening for the first time on Thanksgiving Day, such as Macy’s, or opening earlier that day than in previous years. They are following Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest U.S. employer, which has been open for business on Thanksgiving for more than 25 years.
“Another holiday bites the dust in favor of retailers,” Candace Corlett, president of New York consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, said in a Nov. 12 phone interview. “Our culture now is to shop, and to get the best deals. Thanksgiving as a day of rest was another culture, another time, not today.”
The expansion of hours will take more than a million employees away from their families during the holiday.
That’s what I’m talking about!
The selling-on-Thanksgiving story is many things: it’s a business story, a cultural story, a local story—but it’s an important labor story too.