I’ve never been a big fan of stores being open on Thanksgiving Day, because I feel that American culture already emphasises consumerism and unhealthy obsessions with work enough. However, I rarely say anything, because what are you going to do with big-box retailers? They want some of that Black Friday money, and they typically don’t open until 9 PM or later on Thanksgiving — that’s late enough that I could see a reasonable amount of relaxation or family time being spent.
That is, until I opened my email yesterday afternoon and received this email from our local, “Oklahoma Proud” grocer, Reasor’s:
I was definitely not Oklahoma Proud. I was Oklahoma Ashamed. I was also appalled and disgusted. They aren’t even treating Thanksgiving as a holiday. It’s just another work day in another work week. Some of their stores are open 24 hours — they won’t close at all for this holiday!
And it just kept coming. I received this email shortly after picking up our family’s meal package at The Fresh Market:
That’s slightly better, but still doesn’t allow employees much freedom to spend Thanksgiving morning and afternoon the way they want to be able to.
American culture already penalises people enough for wanting to have a holiday outside of the federally-recognised ones. Some workplaces do not even allow you holidays (or “vacation days”), and the ones that do typically require you to work for a certain amount of time before receiving any. This is the next level, and in my opinion, going too far. When you start taking away the ability of people to have holidays at all, even when they are federally recognised, that is where I draw the line and say something is wrong. This is unhealthy for all involved, and will only lead to problems.