Should Stores Be Open on Thanksgiving?

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Published on November 24, 2014


In the last couple of weeks, there has been a great deal of conversation on social media and elsewhere about what some are now calling “Black Thursday,” the increasing number of stores that choose to open on Thanksgiving with special sales, thereby requiring at least some of their employees to work on the holiday.   While stores have been doing this on Thanksgiving afternoon and evening for a few years, some are now opening in the early morning.  

Some are threatening to boycott stores that open on Thanksgiving or to make a special effort to support retailers who choose not to open, while others feel that opening on Thanksgiving is no big deal.  

Below are some perspectives on the issue from members of the Horizons staff.  We’d love to hear what you think.  Weigh in on our Facebook page.

Black Thursday is honestly pathetic. Can retailers get any more greedy? People work enough during the year.  Holidays are becoming days that get increased earnings and traffic. Employees are forced to drag themselves out of bed at the crack of dawn just to deal with chaos in form of doorbuster deals and one day sales. Their short lived breaks serve as little to no compensation for their 8+ hours of service. Meanwhile, CEOs and others in charge are enjoying the fruits of their workers’ labor. They’ll probably get a great night’s sleep, family time, and a grand meal to top it all off. It’s simply not fair that people have to be away from their loved ones or won’t be able to get adequate rest.

Maybe I’m a little biased because my boyfriend is working Black Thursday and Friday at Macy’s. He originally planned to come over to eat dinner with my family, but that obviously got ruined. I don’t like the way spokespeople for these companies are twisting their words to disguise their greed. They say things like “we’re doing this to make it more convenient for shoppers” or “we want to give them more options.” Black Friday was the day to do your shopping, not Thanksgiving. Now retailers want to pull shoppers in earlier and earlier. It’s even more sad that people will actually go out and buy on this day. I don’t know what else to expect anymore, I’m pretty sure companies will open on Christmas within the next few years.
—Shannon Mitchell

 Stores such as Walmart, Kmart, JC Penny’s, and Target are choosing to open this year on Thanksgiving. Many Americans are concerned that forcing employees to work on a national holiday is morally unjust.

This particular holiday, Thanksgiving, is celebrated by preparing and consuming a large meal as a family, while remembering all the things we are grateful for.

In my opinion, there are three hundred and sixty-four other days in a year that families can gather together and enjoy a meal.

I do understand the opposition to working that day, because many cannot celebrate with their families, but there is a bright side to consider as well.

The massive sales and crowds of shoppers are great for the economy. Workers are getting paid time and a half, and shoppers are getting the deals they really desire.

Think about those families that can really benefit from the savings offered on Black Thursday and Black Friday: those whose Christmas presents transform from a small pile to a large heap.

I’d rather have stores open than an oppressive government telling them they cannot open.

Also, if you do not agree with the stores being open, don’t shop. If you do not want to work, take the day off. Or better yet, don’t work in retail.

To those who have to work on Black Thursday, I suggest celebrating Thanksgiving on another day, and use your overtime pay and store discounts to buy wonderful presents for your family!

Giving thanks and gathering to enjoy a meal should be done more often than one day a year. I don’t think holidays are the only time these occasions should happen.

If people spent more quality time with their families during the year, maybe there wouldn’t be so much animosity towards stores opening on Black Thursday.
–Jena Fracassini

Stores shouldn’t open on Thanksgiving. Our society is too materialistic already and stores extending their hours like this only exacerbates the problem. Holidays are some of the only times that families can get together without work getting in the way. It is awful that companies are trying to take that precious time away. However, I think that people who shop on Thanksgiving are also to blame, if there wasn’t a high demand for stores to be open longer as a part of Black Friday than stores would only open at a reasonable time. I think that everyone needs to take a moment to remember why the holiday season is important, and let me tell you, it is not the presents!
–Brenna McIntyre

I think working on Thanksgiving should be optional for people and more money should be given to those who choose to work on a holiday, not to mention the excessive length in hours in hopes of gaining more money for the company is upsetting for employees. They look tired, upset and sad.

Even though I do not celebrate holidays, I still like my days off. With that reasoning, for someone who is really into the holiday season and has a family tradition they share, then they should be able to have the day off to fulfill those traditions. I think shoppers can survive a day without the mall. Just take a walk in their shoes and imagine not being with your children on the holidays because you are folding clothes. The world will still be in the mood to shop the next day and thereafter.
–Latisa Pacheco

Why is it that people can’t shop on holidays without other people judging them? So what if stores are open and ready for business?  People obviously want to shop on Thanksgiving.  Stores wouldn’t decide it worthwhile to open if they didn’t think anyone would walk through their doors. For me, it’s always been a choice. I don’t go out those days; it’s family time.

I think that people who have an issue with “Black Thursday” should make a similar choice. The only way to fight commercialization is with your wallet. It’s the only thing businesses will listen to. However, it seems clear to me that this is just people fighting for the sake of fighting because once again the stores have decided to open meaning there is a market out there. The market may not be for everyone, but it still exists and it should be heard. At the same time this is an opportunity for those who are forced to work during the two days to make more money than they might at a normal time. So while it might suck to have to work during a time that is normally associated with family, it could also be a blessing in disguise.
—Franklin Jusino

Personally, I am blessed with the enviable position of not working in retail, and also having a rather large family with whom to spend Thanksgiving.  That being said, I cannot imagine spending Thanksgiving Thursday in any other way than celebrating with family.  I believe that stores should not engage in Black Thursday, and allow their employees the day off.  After all, it is a holiday, and it is customary not to work on a holiday.  However, I also realize that there are some people who would like to work on Thanksgiving, either because they have no intention of celebrating, or are eager to make some bonus pay for working on a holiday.  For those individuals, Black Thursday would be a good idea.

I find myself with my feet in both camps, both in favor and opposed to Black Thursday, depending on the individual, and my solution is equally conflicted.  They way I see it, employees should choose whether or not they will work on Thanksgiving day, and it is up to their employer to appropriately reward those who choose to work, or be content if the store does not have enough workers to open on that day.  This plan does have some inconsistencies, but it does appeal to the retail workers (the group most affected by the idea of Black Thursday) by giving them the final say.
—Jack McCandless

Black Thursday somehow it sounds wrong. Everyone is used to the ominous Black Friday. Sale hunting is an everyday hobby for most, but for some, Black Friday is the day they wake up at five in the morning and prepare for the hunt.

Black Friday is almost considered a holiday to some, a day they take their family out to “celebrate” this holiday by running through aisles and having a tug of war battle with some lady who claimed she “saw it first.”

The people who I feel for the most in this situation are the employees. They have to witness this circus of disaster, missing their families. What if they had to miss an actual holiday? Thanksgiving is a sacred holiday that everyone uses to see their relatives. This is a holiday that brings everyone closer.
–Amanda Wright

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