Parenting Blog

The Other Side of the Thankgiving Open Store Retail Debate

So the other night, the Mrs. and I were at Old Navy. Yeah, again. What of it? I like that place, alright. They were (still are, actually) having a bitchin’ 30% off the entire store sale which meant we could make our dollar go far whilst shopping for our Sponsor A Child children, each of whom need sweet new duds. Fine, yeah we got some stuff for ourselves too. We’re weak, people, weak. The Bear is now rocking a jean jacket she’s been lusting after and the Mouse walked away with in oversized purple sweater, with sleeves long enough to pull down over her hands. I do that too — twinsies! But most of the 28″ receipt was full of giving not receiving.

When we were making small talk with the cashier, she said the 30% off dealio runs through Thanksgiving night and we were all like, “aw poop you have to work on Thanksgiving?” (because that’s what white middle class liberals are supposed to do in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Well that and post on social media some kind of scathing indictment of the state of our society, the scourge of rampant consumerism and the fading tradition of true holiday celebrations) and she was all “no, it’s cool because I need the money, the pay is great, and some of my friends will be here too.”

Yeah, a funny thing happened on the way out of the store that night: that poor helpless cashier who is (possibly not) being forced into employment on Turkey Day? She’s down with it. She wants to work after Thanksgiving dinner is over, the leftovers packed up, while and her family members snore the night away on the couch during the final NFL game of the holiday, because she’s going to be paid time and a half in addition to her normal wage. Pretty good deal. And then I remembered, fuck yeah, that’s exactly what I did when I was young and in debt and cash poor and struggling in a crap apartment in Philly! I worked my ass off when the company I worked for offered off-time hours at overtime rates. That is exactly how I crawled my way out of the credit card hole I dug for myself way back then, when I was trying to run an indie rock record label on a spending limit budget.

Maybe she’s in a similar place in her life. Maybe a lot of people are. Maybe a lot of these folks don’t have family to visit anyway. Maybe some customers, the ones who have to get right back to their jobs on Black Friday morning, find it more convenient to pick up a few deeply discounted toys for their kids on Thanksgiving night. Maybe stores opening on Thanksgiving isn’t all that bad. Maybe there’s more to every story than the internet outrage would have us believe. Maybe.

Finally, what about gas station employees, convenience store workers, and others who have long since provided us a service on holidays? Why no outcry for those folks? Why no circulated list and movement boycotting those stores? Because we NEED them, that’s why, to travel for the holidays in comfort. We need them to refill our tanks on the way here and there and back again. We need them to quench our thirst and to feed us KIND bars, Peppermint Patties, and potato chips as we go. So we, who are filled with such anger about Old Navy and others opening their doors at 6pm on Thanksgiving, don’t give a shit if gas station and convenience store workers (to name just a couple) don’t get to celebrate the holidays with their families, because it helps us out. And let’s be honest, ‘us’ is all we really care about in the end.

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