Kmart Forcing Employees To Work On Thanksgiving, Ruining Their Holidays So You Can Buy Cheap Crap”


I know I wrote about this topic last week but my anger has only amplified since. I have seen stupid memes on Facebook and status updates of those wondering why people are suddenly in a rage because some retail employees will have to work on Thanksgiving. Their faultless logic brings them to the conclusion that, duh, because employees in other industries have to work on holidays that retail folks might as well also. And to that I say, bullshit. Do you need treatment in a hospital if you fall ill? Yes. Do you need the fire trucks to come if Uncle Louis sets your house ablaze with his cigar? Of course. Do you need gas for your car if you are driving 400 miles to see Gran-Gran? I suppose you do, sadly- I hate to think of someone working at a gas station on a holiday but I guess this does fall under “essential.” But please explain this to me- does anyone need ANYTHING Kmart sells so desperately that they should be open on Thanksgiving? I’m going to go with no.

Jillian Fisher wants her mother home for Thanksgiving and, who can blame her? Her mom is a retail employee and has been with Kmart for 21 years. Most of those years, I am sure, where not open for Thanksgiving. You can stop with the “she signed up for it” argument. It is entirely reasonable for someone who works a cash register at a store that sells non-essential items to not have to work on major holidays. From Jezebel via ThinkProgress:

Last year, Fisher’s mother called her daughter nearly in tears because she was told she would have to work what is called a “split shift” on Thanksgiving Day, meaning she had to spend two chunks of time at work. “She was not going to be able to spend any real time with our family,” Fisher said. “To hear her on the verge of tears really infuriated me, to think why are they doing this to people, they need time to be with their families.” This is the one holiday where the whole family gets together: her mother’s brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces. “Thanksgiving is pretty much the one time of year we all get together,” she said.

It’s that frustration that sparked the petition.

So there goes the “it’s optional, they volunteer” argument. It’s not- I worked retail over 10 years ago and it wasn’t optional for Black Friday so I would imagine it’s not for Thanksgiving in most stores either because, of course, many employees would request the day off. To those saying “they need the money and the overtime”? You have apparently never worked retail. Many (not all, but many) managers will simply short their hours the rest of the week so they don’t have to pay them too much more than usual. Jillian goes on to explain that employee’s at her mother’s Kmart haven’t even been told yet about the extended hours and have only heard about it through the news. So, less than two weeks before a major holiday, they have no idea whether they should make plans for dinner or not. I think that’s deplorable.

My ire on this subject goes in several directions. Firstly, the people who feel the need to shop on Thanksgiving because without that demand, the stores would not see it worth it to be open and staffed. And yes, blah blah blah, some people don’t celebrate/don’t care/can’t see their families anyway. Fine. Stay home and read a book. Shop online. Count snowflakes. I frankly don’t care. All I know is there is no solid argument for why greedy jerks cannot just wait until a few hours later when the stores open for Black Friday.

As previously mentioned, I am also tired of the argument that other industries work, so why not retail? Ok, why not office employees? Why not banks? Why not schools?! Hell, if parents are being shipped off to work, they may need a place to stash their kids anyway! Why not just make Thanksgiving a holiday in name only and people can “celebrate” if they want to and just use their vacation time? I’m sorry, but I do think this is that slippery of a slope and not totally ridiculous to consider. If you told me 10 years ago that many major retailers were going to start opening on Thanksgiving I would have laughed. But it’s happening. So, what will it all look like in another 10 years? I shudder to think. I am not some “family values” ranter but I do deeply believe in some things being sacred. Thanksgiving is one of very few major holidays that is not religious and that most of this country celebrates. Why can’t we keep the people who have to work to an absolute minimum and have most families able to spend time together if they want to?

Our values have gotten so warped and it makes me incredibly sad. I want people like Jillian Fisher’s mom to not have to panic about missing this holiday with their families for a completely useless reason. My parents worked holidays when I was a kid because they work in healthcare so this hits close to home. When my mother kissed my tear-covered cheeks on Christmas or Thanksgiving morning and told me that “sick people don’t get better for holidays” I understood. But greedy people can hold their wad for another 12 hours and let as many employees as possible be with their families on Thanksgiving. It’s just the right thing to do.

If you want to help Kmart employees who want to spend Thanksgiving with their families, please sign the petition Jillian Fisher started. You can find it here.

(Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)

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