Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Working on Holidays

Here in America we are getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Forget the vanilla retelling of the origin of this holiday, Thanksgiving is the celebration of gluttony.  In America you will also hear the term Black Friday, this refers to the sales that stores have the day after Thanksgiving that launches us into the Christmas shopping season.  It is named Black Friday because traditionally stores would operate in the red (debt) or close to it. The stores rely on the Christmas shopping season to make most of their profit.

Other traditions include rioting in stores as shoppers trample over each other to buy more stuff just hours after they spent the night listing the things they were thankful for.

Another tradition has come about recently and that is stores opening up earlier and earlier and in the past few years even starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving.  This of course naturally followed by shallow outrage over corporations forcing their workers to work on Thanksgiving instead of giving them time to be with their families.  Call me a Scrooge, but to these people I say Bah Humbug.

Are hospitals allowed to close and give their workers time off for Thanksgiving?  What about firemen?  What about the soldier who is sleeping in a tent in the Middle East hoping he doesn't get blown up by a roadside bomb the next day?  No, these people are expected to work.

What about Denny's and other restaurants that cater to people who eat out on the holidays?  Airline workers are expected to show up to ensure we get home to our families.  Or perhaps we decide to drive down the highway.  What about the crew that cleans up the road if it snows?  What about the people who work at the power plant who keep our lights on?  Why is it that we only express outrage at a few corporations who make their people work on Thanksgiving while ignoring the people around us who work everyday to ensure our way of life.

We live in an integrated society.  A society that by the sheer size of it requires someone to be on the job when we need them.  They may be a gas station clerk who sells us our gasoline or the hospital surgeon trying to save someone's life after a car accident.  Unless you unplug from society and live as a hermit your world requires someone to work on Thanksgiving.

The great thing about America is that we have the freedom of choice.  If you don't want to work retail on Thanksgiving then you are free to pursue a job that allows you the day off.  Corporations are in the business of earning a profit.  As most retail corporations are publically traded companies they have a responsibility to their investors to earn as much profit as they can.  If they can do this by being open on Thanksgiving then I say go for it.  I have had many jobs that required me to work on Thanksgiving, it is better than not having a job.  

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