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Is It Ethical To Open Retail Stores On Thanksgiving Day? Do Employees Have A Point Or Are They Whiners?

Updated on November 18, 2012

Should Black Friday Start So Early Thanksgiving Day?

Okay, so we've been hearing a lot of uproar about Walmart employees either striking or doing some type of demonstration or flash mob on Thanksgiving Day. This year Walmart announced that rather than having one large grand opening for Black Friday where everyone gets trampoled and chaos erupts they would have a series of openings each opening featuring a different product so the people wanting the deals on televisions show up at 6pm for example and the people for toys show up at 8pm for example. This is a good idea in theory as the lines should be less, chaos should be less, and you don't have all these people lining up for different products at the same time. The downside to this arrangemnt however is that it means employees basically are giving up their Thanksgiving day to not only work the Thanksgiving Day sale but also prep for the sale and get merchandise on the floors.

It's interesting how Walmart employees are getting so much sympathy from the public, however no-one is really saying anything about employees at other stores in the same situation such as K-Mart and others. I have a friend who works at K-Mart. He works loss prevention so his hours on Thanksgiving day are less than the associates and retail workers however he has to show up at 4pm for a 5pm sale. He then goes home for about two hours and comes back for an 8pm sale. This is really a bummer for him as not only does it ruin his Thanksgiving day but he doesn't even get a full day of pay, he gets a few hours, goes home unpaid for a few hours more when he can't really do anything and then goes back to the store at 8pm. He then has to wake up black Friday and be back at the store Black Friday morning at 3am. Doesn't sound like a fun Thanksgiving day to me.

Personally I'm not really a Black Friday shopper, I'm normally working the day after Thanksgiving and even if I wans't I can think of alot better things to do than stand in cold long lines for the chance to save $10 on a toaster. That said I even dislike Black Friday early openings. Oftentimes the most fun on Thanksgiving is in the evening when younger people in the family, cousins and such will hangout, have some drinks and enjoy each others company. It's hard to have some drinks and relax and enjoy yourself when you're thinking about heading into work at 3am the next morning. The early Black Friday deals are bad enough and enough to put a damper on Thanksgiving for retail workers but it's even worse it's now beginning to even encroach on the Thanksgiving Day festivities.

This brings us to the intersting question of if it's necessary as well as if it's ethical to have Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day and take these people away from their families. Personally I think it could wait until the next day. It seems as if others have the same mentality. Holidays are essentially a sacred day meant to relax and spend time with family and friends. That said I suppose if everyone felt that way nobody would show up at Black Friday and there woudln't be a need for these employees to be away from their families. There's a reason stores have Black Friday deals and there's a reason deals have moved up to daytime hours on Thanksgiving Day and it's because there's a demand. If Walmart opened up Thanksgiving Day at 4pm and nobody showed up you can gurantee they wouldn't have the same sale next year, however people will show up, the stores will make money, and they will continue to have sales the next year...maybe even earlier in the day if they think it will make them more money.

Stores like Chick Filet catch a lot of flack from the public but I for one applaud them for their policy of closing on Sundays. They feel family, church, and a day or relaxation is more valuable than making a few extra bucks by staying open one more day during the week. In addition to frequenting that business because of their tasty food and good customer service part of the reason I support them is because of this policy. I imagine there are people out there like myself who will support businesses who value their employees as people and value their work life balance and time with their families and other likeminded people should choose to support businesses who run their business in a way that showcases those values.

Now one more question to be addressed. Is it ethical to start Black Friday Deals on Thanksgiving Day? Some people may make the argument that retail workers when they take a job understand they will be required to work nights, weekends, and Holidays. That's the part of retail work that is unappealing to most individuals. These people take the job knowing the hours and if they don't like it shouldn't take the job and then complain later that they have to work these hours? Some people may make this argument. What do you think? Do you think retail workers are being whiners or do you think they have a point that they shouldn't be forced to abandon their failies on Thanksgiving Day so some lady can save a few bucks on a toaster or a DVD? Leave a comment expressing your point of view as I'm curious to see what others out there think.

There are other jobs that require people to work on Holidays such as road workers, tollway workers, gas station workers, many restaurant workers, and even most grocery stores for at least part of the day. Though I'm sure they aren't thrilled to work the general public seems okay with it as we seem to have deemed certain jobs necessary to be working on these days. Heck maybe you forgot gravy for the Turkey and you like being able to run to the local grocery store to pick up some gravy or some more beer. Why is it were okay with some jobs working and not others?

I think it basically comes down to supply and demand. Though I don't frequent Black Friday sales and though I don't think employees should be forced to work that however like I said earlier, if there wasn't a demand for the store to be open and for the sale to start early the stores wouldn't hold it so I contend that the majority of the public either likes these sales or doesn't feel strongly enough against them to raise any opposition.

If you like these sales and are okay with employees having to work by all means leave your family on Black Friday and go shopping. If you feel like myself however don't attend the sale and even more importantly maybe year round you shoudln't suppport businesses who have these practices. You may also want to reach out to the stores corporate offices and let them know you don't approve of this practice and will no longer frequent their stores. Basically whateve the company thinks will make them more money will win out. If they will make more money having early sales they will continue to do so. If they deem they will lose more business than they wiill gain by not respecting their employees lives they will discontinue sales.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Should Stores Start Black Friday Deals On Thanksgiving Day?
Should Stores Start Black Friday Deals On Thanksgiving Day?


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