Carving into Thanksgiving

Today, I fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul to pick up my father. Together, we fly to Las Vegas to be with the Nevada portion of our extended family for Thanksgiving. (Potential robbers, take note: My husband Steve remains at home, so our house is not an easy target.) Dad has not seen his grandchild, Ann, nor the three great-grandchildren — Christian, Lindsey and Matthew — in at least two years. Excited is an understated description for us all.

For years, I worked at newspapers where Thanksgiving is a must-work holiday for about half the staff. There’s a huge paper to put out for Black Friday and papers don’t print themselves, you know.

I cherish having Thanksgiving off to be with family. So the news coverage of major retailers and their plans to open for business on Thanksgiving night and the impact on workers saddens me. One of my Wisconsin friends sent me this link from a Walmart worker in Kenosha. Of course, I also know of workers who are happy to work holidays because of the overtime pay, but what if you’re not? I still remember that feeling when you see the blackout dates listed on the bulletin board. It means no days off. Worst-case scenario means working even if there’s a birth or death in your immediate family.

Here’s a balanced report about Thanksgiving creep and, no, that’s not a reference to either weight gain from pie or unwelcome dinner guests. Working on national holidays is no small matter. Those retailers who extended their hours last year reportedly saw Black Friday weekend sales increases of up to 22 percent. I often wonder about a one-time comparison like that, though. Doesn’t that just shift the spending from a few days later?

What do you think? Do you think stores should open on Thanksgiving? Should employees be forced to work on holidays? Do you plan on shopping Thursday night? Or do you shop any of the Black Friday sales that start at midnight?

If you’d like to find out more, check out this web site. Watch the video of workers talking about why they are standing up to our country’s largest employer. There are other actions listed on the website as well.

Whatever you do in the coming days, I wish the feeling of gratitude stays with you and yours until the next Thanksgiving.

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