Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Not A Chance In Hell You Will Catch Me Shopping on Thanksgiving

This afternoon I was over visiting my friend Suldog’s blog. For the past seven or so years he’s been running a campaign on his blog and requesting that other bloggy friends take part. The premise is that Thanksgiving comes first. I don’t think I really need to explain the overall gist to any of you right? Check out the Facebook page for more info.

Each year I intend to join the fight in my own quest for normalcy during the busy holiday season but every year I read his plea before Halloween. To me all the holidays should have their own time. Halloween is one of my personal favorites, nothing to do with candy and perhaps someday I’ll share all the details why but today is not that day. Anyway, because I love Halloween I refuse to start talking about Thanksgiving until that day has come and gone. By the time that’s over I end up getting busy with other things and never fully support his cause.

This year is different. Because this year I’m livid.

If you go and read his blog post in the link I linked to above you’ll probably get the gist why. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

See what I mean? What the hell gives Walmart, Kmart or Sears the right to dictate that their employees show up to work on one of the precious few days during the year the retail community gets to enjoy having a day off? Fuck that.

I started writing a long winded comment back to Jim because I come from a personal place of irritation over this matter. I’m a former assistant manager, employee, and manager of retail establishments. And let me tell you something right now, if I were still in that industry working in a mall somewhere and anyone tried to tell me I had to show up for work on Thanksgiving I’d probably pop a vein. And promptly close the gates in a very personal fuck you to the bullshit consumerist regime that was trying to force me to show up on a holiday of national significance.

Here’s what I planned to write out in the comments over on his blog

Petition signed. That's the most outrageous and blatant attempt at power and control that I've ever seen in my life. The employees in that industry already have too much stress at the holidays can't they get one flipping day off? What sucks is that their jobs will probably be threatened if they choose not to work. Millions of people out of work will mean that someone will be willing to do it. Which as far as I’m concerned is total lunacy.

I was an assistant manager of a very successful retail store many years ago. My first Christmas as a manager in that store I was so busy (mind you this was YEARS before what's going on now) that I literally lived on coffee and cigarettes while working double shifts at least 3 days a week for the weeks between Black Friday and 2 weeks after New Year’s (don’t forget about holiday return season!). Generally I worked upwards of 75-80 hours a week covering for my manager who took so much time off to deal with her court troubles I was surprised she retained her job at all.

Luckily I was in my early 20's but it didn't matter. I dropped to about 89 pounds and could barely function. What happened at the end of the Christmas season? My car broke down on the way to work, I called in to say I needed a day off & it was approved. A week later my manager*** told my district manager I'd never called (even longer story) and I was fired for falsifying a time sheet weeks later. Of course this was after I worked a shift for her when another employee came in and stole money from the register that they tried to blame on me (which led directly into me requesting to watch the tape of me stealing money, which they didn’t have because I didn’t steal anything, and my manager telling the DM that I had to go - hence the timesheet instead). The time sheet thing couldn't be proven either way because back in those days we hand wrote everything.

I left retail then and there and never looked back. The way the things are going now I’m surprised every store isn’t open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

You can bet I will NEVER shop on a day a retail employee should have the day off. Consumerism is out of control. Employees get no respect for their hard work and even less pay for being the thing that allegedly holds up the economy of the entire country.

I don’t just support Jim’s stance on the fact that Thanksgiving – a day to celebrate all we have in our lives that isn’t material – comes before Christmas but now I’m just off the rails that Thanksgiving may not even be a recognized day of rest anymore.

Because let’s face it, if Walmart, et al, opens the rest of them will do the same so as not to lose out on the revenue.

When I was in retail we opened at 8:00 instead of 10:00 on Black Friday then stayed open 2 hours after usual closing time as well. I was already mystified by stores who felt forcing their employees to come to work for a 6:00 AM Black Friday opening was insane. Then the midnight openings started.

And now this?

I can assure any retail establishment out there if they open even one minute earlier – aka Thanksgiving – I will stop shopping there for good. And let me just tell you how my broke ass can appreciate Walmart’s prices. But if they can’t appreciate a holiday and the people who are employed by them then they can say goodbye to my business forever.

Please stop this insanity. Please stop supporting this insanity. And please have a happy Thanksgiving until the moment it’s over. Which is not 8:00 or 10:00 PM.

This information is very real. You can read the Chicago Tribune article here

You can tell Target what you think by signing the petition started by an employee. They’re shy only a few thousand signatures now so spread the word!

Find it on Jim's post.

***update: one of my readers brought to my attention the fact that bipolar and crazy may not be medically accurate since I couldn't diagnose my manager so let's just say this instead, she was

a two-faced lying bitch who used me for her own personal needs and as soon as those needs were met she threw me under the bus as fast as her bleached blonde head would allow her to, since my DM had noticed her absences and someone was getting fired (but she had the upper hand in communication with the DM so it certainly wasn't going to be her).


Jessa said...

You had me until bipolar and crazy. I stopped reading then as a member of the "bipolar and crazy" community.

Karen said...

I was at the Burlington Mall last week and saw the signs advertising that the entire mall would be open at 12:30 AM Black Friday. Honestly, if you're working the midnight to 8 AM shift Black Friday (of course the employees have to be there earlier to open), then you'll spend your Thanksgiving Day sleeping and preparing for your Black Friday shift. Even Massachusetts Blue Laws don't do enough to protect retail employees. If a store that usually opens at 9 AM wants to open at 6 AM one day of the year, I can go there. But anything more is just abusive.

lettersfromlaunna said...

It is unbelievable... I worked in a grocery store for 6 years and at the time we were not opened on Sundays... They had no hope in hell of me working on a Sunday... So you can bet that I wouldn't work a holiday. I am completely unbelieving that people cannot do their shopping when the stores are opened long, long hours six days a week.

There is no extra money, it is just spread out over the 7 days and hours.

Sorry, I went off on a tirade... I am passionate about this, I won't shop on Sundays of holidays...

Great post Jenn, I always love reading your opinions... !!!

Suldog said...

Thank you, Jenn. I love you for this (well, for a lot of things having to do with writing, but this especially. It helps my psyche a lot right now to have other people go off like ticking time bombs!)

michelle.starling said...

I agree completely. I will not shop on Thanksgiving and, to be honest, I hate Black Friday. What sane person wants to go into that insanity? I too hate the fact that the employees do not get that time with their families. For years, my husband had to work every Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, I have to confess, he did not work in retail, he worked in mining. I'm just in favor of all businesses observing the holiday to give honor and thanks for those who work so hard to make their business a success.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention Jessa. I have changed the post. It occured to me I'm not a medical professional and to my recollection this disease wasn't diagnosed in my manager at the time. If it was I wasn't informed. Instead I'll just call her "a two-faced lying bitch who used me for her own personal needs and as soon as those needs were met she threw me under the bus as fast as her bleached blonde head would allow her to since my DM had noticed her absences and someone was getting fired (but she had the upper hand in communication with the DM so it certainly wasn't going to be her)."

Alice said...

Have never and will never shop on Black Friday. So it goes without question that Thanksgiving is out. I paid my dues in retail for two Christmases (and this was before the midnight craziness ever started). Appalling. And most of those shoppers are a retail worker's nightmare on a REGULAR day, but to put up with scores of them in the wee hours of the morning...forget it. Also, I love your "update" at the bottom. Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Thankfully I have a great boss. It's just the two of us working in a small shop. And yes...Thanksgiving it is closed! :)

Rosebud Collection said...

Don't shop on Friday..but let me tell you..I can't wait for Thanksgiving Day..all the girls/hubbies/grandchildren will be here..starting Wednesday.
Full house 22 in all..love it..
Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving and sending love from this house to yours...Carolyn

Suldog said...

Thanks for the linky-love, Jenn! And for being such a wonderfully vocal supporter of the righteous cause, of course.