When you see or hear of something that just isn’t right… you have a choice as to what you are going to do about it.
You can either choose to ignore and turn a blind eye to it- or- you can choose to say something and draw attention to it so that something might change.
When I recently heard about department stores deciding to open on Thanksgiving… in order to get an edge on other stores that will open at midnight on Black Friday… I just about lost my mind. This selfish move put a real fire in my belly.
Some may wonder why this is such a big deal to me and why I am raging about it. It is true that there are more egregious and unjust things that are happening in the world, and I am certainly not discounting any of those things, but this particular issue has to be addressed for the intended and unintended consequences that it will certainly yield.
The move to open stores on Thanksgiving is entirely greed-driven. and that is just it. It doesn’t take into consideration ANYTHING but profits and competitive advantage. It does not take into consideration people, families, relationships, or communities in general. Moms and dads, sisters and brothers, cousins and uncles and aunts are robbed of a day when thanks is given around the family table with loved ones.
Any other time on any other day I might agree with decisions of a business when it comes to lawful decisions they make in regards to employee work hours and employee work schedules. I get it. People are at-will employees. If they don’t like it… they can quit.
As a business, you may even make the point that customer demand for opening earlier warrants your decision to open on Thanksgiving. While I agree that sound decision-making by many customers is not a huge strength, and at least part of the blame ought to be levied against the customer, you still have an obligation (and opportunity) to do what is right for your employees and for our communities.
Here is the thing.
You take and you take and you take. You creep and inch into every part of life that we consider important, valuable, and maybe even sacred. And your employees CAN’T say no when you tell them that they are going to work on Thanksgiving… because the economy sucks and they can’t afford to get fired for refusing to work. AND THEY DON’T HAVE A VOICE to stand up to your decision. What are they going to do? what are they going to say? Absolutely nothing. Because they can’t. If they don’t like it they can find another job, right?
Yes… you are the employer and you can make any decision that you want. But when your decisions begin to strip away the very humanity of the people who work on your behalf and continue to negatively transform the values of the communities on which you depend for your business… you need to realize that not all good decisions are about the all-mighty dollar or the bottom-line.
Good decisions also take into consideration the people… the individuals… the human beings who work for you. Good decisions also take into account the future implications of your decisions and what they are doing to our communities. Businesses have an obligation to be good corporate citizens… and every business that continues to impose it’s corporate strategy and their desire to prioritize profits over people, families, and communities is not a good corporate citizen. And that is why I despise what you are doing.
Once you take a step into opening your stores on Thanksgiving… you have set a precedent that will only cause others to follow suit. It will become the new norm by which we live and operate. The infringement on everything we hold dear to us as a society will continue to waste away and vanish because of your greed.
And before we know it… Thanksgiving will become just another day when families are torn apart while rushing out to the next ‘Beat the Rush’ sale… only to stand in line eating a McCheeseburger behind their carts piled high with over-commercialized garbage that they will donate to Goodwill next month. And it will be at the cost of your employees simply wishing (and deserving) a day to sit around the table with family, telling stories, and thanking God for another year. It will be at the cost of our communities losing a day, even if it is just one day, to take a breath together and reflect on our blessings and how thankful we are to be alive and to have each other.
If you agree with this post… please pass it along to other people and to business owners. Let’s stand up, not just for those who are being forced to work during Thanksgiving, but let’s stand up for the heart and soul of our families and communities.