For the last 10 years, retail stores have been opening earlier and earlier in celebration of the highest grossing shopping day of the year: Black Friday. So far have these stores gone, now many stores are open most of the day on Thursday, Thanksgiving as well. Ask any person forced to work on this family holiday, and they will most likely tell you they hate it.
This year, my Aunt Alleen couldn't even attend our 2' o clock dinner because Walmart wouldn't relent. While the CEOs of these big chains eat turkey with their families, those at the mercy of their corporate decisions cannot even see their families enjoy a simple eggnog. This isn't right.
I'm guilty of going to the stores during Thursday night, too. Enticed by the crowds and comfort retail provides, I joined the masses. Everywhere I looked I saw overwrought Starbucks baristas, exasperated Target salespeople, and one lonely kitchen store owner whom shoppers seemed to overlook. Next year, I won't join the "Festivities" until after midnight--when it is actually Friday. Although it isn't shoppers fault for overworking the holiday staff, it supported by us as long as we choose to shop during the day on Thanksgiving. Although many stores open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, we forget that many of them have to come in hours earlier to prepare for the purge. People like my Aunt, don't even get to celebrate with their family--only their corporate family. Only those in relatively low paying retail jobs must sacrifice their sacred time, and that's a classicism trap if I've ever seen one.
To the workers who couldn't see their families on Thanksgiving, I'm truly sorry. This is a clear example of how capitalism creates a culture of greed, even on the one day set aside for the opposite.
The longer we allow things to go on like this, the more likely a Black Thursday will cement as a cultural norm. So what can we do when it is up to the ever ambiguous "The Man"? We can write, call, and contact local representatives to protest this injustice. We can boycott certain stores and support others who forgo Black Thursday vocally and online. If you're a worker, this becomes more difficult. You don't want to risk your job, so you don't speak out. It's almost unconstitutional that it operates this way--free speech includes speech against unfair practices.
Next holiday season, don't be a Grinch. Just wait until midnight to shop, if not the next morning.