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Cold-Hearted Retailers Force Employees to Work on Thanksgiving

Most Americans work more than the population in any other wealthy country. Americans are also increasingly likely to work at night and on the weekends. Thanksgiving used to be one of the few holidays, when a person could count on not working and being able to spend with family. Now, with Black Friday becoming a two-day capitalist bonanza, poor and working class employees are having to report to work or face the possibility of being fired.

First off, the Thanksgiving holiday, as The Zinn Education Project puts it, is based in aggression, enslavement and “the genocidal beliefs that destroyed millions of Native Americans people from the Pilgrim landings to the 20th Century.” Americans who want to celebrate freedom should be remembering the fighters, like the Africans and Native Americans, who resisted foreign invasion.

With that acknowledged, how many days of the year do Americans clear their schedules and make plans to share the warmth of friends and family, as they probably should more often?

I am fortunate to have the privilege of being able to pay for all my basic needs. That means I do not have to consider volunteering to work for a retailer on Thanksgiving. Plus, I work for Firedoglake and I do not have to give up time with family to keep my job.

Nobody in this country should have to make the choice of keeping one’s job or spending time with family. But each year it is getting worse. K-Mart is open at 6 am on Thanksgiving and threatening workers with termination if they do not show up to work. Stores at the Walden Galleria mall in New York are being threatened with fines if they do not have Thanksgiving hours.

Walmart employees asked to be at work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, as they continue to be paid only low wages, have put themselves on the frontline of this battle against rapacious businesses.

All of these retailers open deserve to be shamed and called out for being run by greedy cold-hearted bastards. So, here is the list of stores and when they are opening today:

Walmart – 6 pm
Best Buy – 5 pm
Kohl’s – 6 pm
Sears – 6 pm
Macy’s – 6 pm
Target – 6 pm
K-Mart – 6 am
BonTon – 6 pm
Belk – 6 pm
Stage – 4 pm
JCPenney – 5 pm
Stein Mart – 5 pm
Sports Authority – 6 pm
Staples – 6 pm
Sears Hardware – 6 pm
Meijer – 6 am
Walgreens – 8 am
Michaels – 4 pm
Rite Aid – 8 am
Sears Outlet – 6 pm
Bealls Florida – 6 pm
ShopKo – 6 pm
Gander Mountain – 8 am
MC Sports – 6 pm
RadioShack – 8 am
CVS Pharmacy – Varying Hours
Toys R Us – 5 pm
Dick’s Sporting Goods – 5 pm
Old Navy – 4 pm
Anna’s Linens – 8 pm
HH Gregg – 4 pm
New York & Company – Varying Hours
Modell’s Sporting Goods – 6 pm
Rural King – 6 am
Hastings – 1 pm
Dunham’s Sports – 6 pm
Ulta – 7 pm

Remarkably, stores, which sell goods from retailers that consumers did not initially want to buy, are open early today. These stores also sell these goods at a lower price to people with low incomes—and typically people who work these stores work for really low wages.

These retailers include Value City (opening at 6 am), Big Lots (opening at 7 am), Dollar General (opening at 7 am) and Family Dollar (opening at 8 am). (Let’s consider dropping “Family” and just calling this chain “Dollar.”)

Presidents of these store chains defend their decision to have Thanksgiving hours by saying their employees want to work and appreciate the chance to make some extra money. This is open exploitation. Chains do not pay their employees a living wage and, come Thanksgiving and Christmas, these vulnerable people sign up to work.

Now, there are several chains, which are bucking the trend and remaining closed. It is not that they deserve recognition for giving their employees the day off. That is what we should expect. However, in the midst of creep, it is important to recognize that some stores are not run by individuals overcome by insatiable greed.

All of the following are closed today: A.C. Moore, AAFES Exchange, ABT, Academy Sports, American Girl, Barnes and Noble, Bass Pro Shops, Bed Bath and Beyond, Big 5 Sporting Goods, BJs, Blains Farm & Fleet, Burlington, Cabela’s, Crate and Barrel, Christmas Tree Shops, Costco, Dillard’s, DSW, Fred’s, Fort Western, GameStop, Gordmans, Guitar Center, Half Price Books, Harbor Freight
HomeGoods, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Jos. A. Bank, Lowes, Marshalls, Menards, Mills Fleet Farm, Navy Exchange, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Northern Tool, REI, Patagonia, Pier 1 Imports, Saks, Sierra Trading Post, TJ Maxx, True Value, Tractor Supply and World Market.

Costco has plainly articulated why retail businesses should be closed, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Nothing more complicated than that.”

Unfortunately, these businesses open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving each year because they know people will come shop. A study by Accenture found that 45% said they would shop between 6 pm on Thanksgiving and 5 am on Black Friday.

Which means our messages of disgust do not have to be directed at the CEOs of these retailers but also the shoppers, who crave the adrenaline rush of being able to indulge in sales and do not care about the workers ringing up the products they buy.

In trying to reverse this deplorable trend, we probably are more likely to convince shoppers to remain home than we are likely to convince retailers to stop their takeover of the holiday.

To shoppers, I say think about Neal Page in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, as he fights through every obstacle in his path to get home to be with family. He is worried he has not been spending enough time with family and does not want to let his wife and kids down. That is the spirit of this day that I cherish.

None of us know how limited our time with family or friends may be. My father died a couple of weeks ago. It has made me pause to consider how much I value my family and friends.

To think that I would be more interested in being at some store after Thanksgiving dinner to buy some low-priced product is unconscionable to me. And to think that I would take someone away from their family and have them sell me this low-priced product is even more offensive.

Creative Commons Licensed Photo from Flickr by JeepersMedia

CommunityThe Dissenter

These Retailers Open on Thanksgiving Are Run by Greedy People Who Are Cold-Hearted Toward Families

Most Americans work more than the population in any other wealthy country. Americans are also increasingly likely to work at night and on the weekends. Thanksgiving used to be one of the few holidays, when a person could count on not working and being able to spend with family. Now, with Black Friday becoming a two-day capitalist bonanza, poor and working class employees are having to report to work or face the possibility of being fired.

First off, the Thanksgiving holiday, as The Zinn Education Project puts it, is based in aggression, enslavement and “the genocidal beliefs that destroyed millions of Native Americans people from the Pilgrim landings to the 20th Century.” Americans who want to celebrate freedom should be remembering the fighters, like the Africans and Native Americans, who resisted foreign invasion.

With that acknowledged, how many days of the year do Americans clear their schedules and make plans to share the warmth of friends and family, as they probably should more often?

I am fortunate to have the privilege of being able to pay for all my basic needs. That means I do not have to consider volunteering to work for a retailer on Thanksgiving. Plus, I work for Firedoglake and I do not have to give up time with family to keep my job.

Nobody in this country should have to make the choice of keeping one’s job or spending time with family. But each year it is getting worse. K-Mart is open at 6 am on Thanksgiving and threatening workers with termination if they do not show up to work. Stores at the Walden Galleria mall in New York are being threatened with fines if they do not have Thanksgiving hours.

Walmart employees asked to be at work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, as they continue to be paid only low wages, have put themselves on the frontline of this battle against rapacious businesses.

All of these retailers open deserve to be shamed and called out for being run by greedy cold-hearted bastards. So, here is the list of stores and when they are opening today: (more…)

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."