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Want To Shop On Thanksgiving? Seek Help Instead

I got in a Twitter fight last night with someone mocking Target employees for not being jazzed about having to leave their families on Thanksgiving to open stores for people so addicted to shopping that they can’t take a single day off.

I put myself through college working retail full-time and, even when I include my summer cleaning latrines, it remains the most difficult job I ever had. I worked on commission and was on my feet for more than 8 hours a day selling footwear. It sounds easy but …

  1. Trace

    But Mollie — Grocery stores and gas stations and MOVIE THEATERS and toll booths, and police and firefighters and FOOTBALL PLAYERS, and many, many, many others work on Thanksgiving and other holidays as well. Though the holiday does have some sacred roots, these are exclusively Christian so do not apply to all. 

    If Target wants to open on Thanksgiving, what is the harm? Let the work be voluntary and pay the necessary premium to attract the requisite number of workers. 

    Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the retailer will pay employees who work on Thanksgiving with holiday pay and its store leaders each year work with employees to accommodate scheduling needs.

    Where from this do you get “forced to work or lose your job?” And “addicted to shopping?” What is that? Because sitting on your butt watching football is much more virtuous than getting a jump on your Christmas shopping?

    You’re a self-styled Libertarian correct? I can’t believe you are buying into this anti-corporate nonsense. 

  2. Guruforhire

    I would work the heck out of some holidays as an hourly employee.

  3. tabula rasa

    I have two points:

    1.  If businesses, particularly in today’s business environment, feel they must open on Thanksgiving, then they can.  I wish they wouldn’t, but that’s the nature of a free market.

    2.  I love Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite holiday (I honor Christ’s birth, but the holiday we’ve created seems have only the most tenuous connection to that sacred event).  Thanksgiving is about family, food, and football (in roughly that order).  There’s no need for presents. The only mad dashes we make the day before are to a grocery store for more food–no mad dashes for gee-gaws.  Thanksgiving food is the best food:  turkey, stuffing, hot rolls, gravy, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie.  What’s not to love.  And it has the added benefit of causing members of a family to think, even if for a few minutes, about all the things for which they should be grateful.

    So, stores can open on Thanksgiving, but you won’t find me anywhere near one (unless Mrs. T. needs an ingredient).

    Finally, if luck is with us, we get to see someone beat Dallas.

  4. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Trace: But Mollie — Grocery stores and gas stations and MOVIE THEATERS and toll booths, and police and firefighters and many, many, many others work on Thanksgiving and other holidays as well. Though the holiday does have some sacred roots, these are exclusively Christian so do not apply to all. 

    If Target wants to open on Thanksgiving, what is the harm? Let the work be voluntary and pay the necessary premium to attract the requisite number of workers. 

    Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the retailer will pay employees who work on Thanksgiving with holiday pay and its store leaders each year work with employees to accommodate scheduling needs.

    You’re a self-styled Libertarian correct? I can’t believe you are buying into this anti-corporate nonsense. 

    In my post, I specifically affirmed the right of Target execs to open stores that day. That’s the only libertarian issue — whether private companies have the right to operate as they wish.

    Whether they should is entirely another issue. I support drug legalization without supporting drugs, for example. In fact, I wish more people could separate out whether something should be restricted by the government and whether it should be done.

  5. Bluenoser

    While I share your antipathy with the consumerism that is over-taking our culture, I’m inclined to agree with Twitter user. 

    My wife is a nurse, she doesn’t get holidays as a right.  I have many friends and family members who employed in the military, law enforcement and fire protection, they work 365 days a year depending on their schedule.  I’m managing a project at my job that has to be implemented on January 1st, (I’ll be working that day) and if it isn’t ready to be implemented my team and I will be working over Christmas (hate to have to do it, but that’s life). 

    I’m sorry, I just don’t feel like a business it has to tell its customers, “you can’t buy broccoli, pantyhose or portable DVD players because our employees are entitled to a day off”, unless we’re also prepared to say, you can’t have nursing care, put the fire at your house out or restore your electricity after that drunk driver took out the power pole at the end of your street.

  6. Mollie Hemingway
    C

    Here’s another thing I’ve learned from having my daughter in a Classical school: leisure is an important component of education.

    Our society needs to value leisure more — if not for our sake, then perhaps for the employees whose family lives are affected by our desire to consume without ceasing?

  7. Trace
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    In my post, I specifically affirmed the right of Target execs to open stores that day. That’s the only libertarian issue — whether private companies have the right to operate as they wish.

    Whether they should is entirely another issue. I support drug legalization without supporting drugs, for example. In fact, I wish more people could separate out whether something should be restricted by the government and whether it should be done. · 0 minutes ago

    Then what, on Earth, is the point of your post? That it’s morally wrong to shop on Thanksgiving? Really? What is the appropriate list of activities? What about the people that go skiing or to the beach that day. Are they also morally inferior? Going to the movies ok? What about to Safeway for some milk? I guess buying a lottery ticket at 7-Eleven on Thanksgiving is frowned upon…

    Come on. 

  8. Mollie Hemingway
    C

    Should we really be comparing emergency medical care to purchasing a new snow-globe at a 15% off doorbuster?

  9. Trace
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: Here’s another thing I’ve learned from having my daughter in a Classical school: leisure is an important component of education.

    Our society needs to value leisure more — if not for our sake, then perhaps for the employees whose family lives are affected by our desire to consume without ceasing? · 0 minutes ago

    But only if that leisure is defined by someone else not having to work. So Amish Thanksgiving is the only acceptable form then?

  10. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Trace

    Then what, on Earth, is the point of your post? That it’s morally wrong to shop on Thanksgiving? Really?

    Take a day off from the consumerism. Reflect on how God has blessed you in your life. Plan ahead for milk if you need to.

    And think about how your decisions affect other people.

  11. Ryan M

    The way my family cooks on thanksgiving, I don’t plan on even being able to move, and I wouldn’t dream of shopping! I am in charge of the turkey, mom and sisters have the sides. Of course, we don’t turn on the television, either. Kind of defeats the purpose, in my opinion.

  12. Trace

    Moonlighting at Huffington Post Mollie? That’s where this absurd straw man juxtaposition belongs. Either you believe in free markets and free choice or you don’t. What do you care whether people want to buy cheap snow globes instead of bickering with their relatives?

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: Should we really be comparing emergency medical care to purchasing a new snow-globe at a 15% off doorbuster? · 0 minutes ago

  13. Trace

    Buy locally! Support your local bookseller!  Eat only plants and animals harvested from people you know! Vaccines cause autism! Save the polar bears!

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Trace

    Then what, on Earth, is the point of your post? That it’s morally wrong to shop on Thanksgiving? Really?

    Take a day off from the consumerism. Reflect on how God has blessed you in your life. Plan ahead for milk if you need to.

    And think about how your decisions affect other people. · 2 minutes ago

  14. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Trace: Moonlighting at Huffington Post Mollie? That’s where this absurd straw man juxtaposition belongs. Either you believe in free markets and free choice or you don’t. What do you care whether people want to buy cheap snow globes instead of bickering with their relatives? · 2 minutes ago

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: Should we really be comparing emergency medical care to purchasing a new snow-globe at a 15% off doorbuster? · 0 minutes ago

    I will say it again. Believing that the government doesn’t have a legitimate interest in restricting something is not the same as believing everything is virtuous.

    I don’t think the government should restrict strip clubs but I am raising my children in such a manner that they won’t end up in one.

    Again, Target is free to do as it wishes. That doesn’t mean every decision made is equally ethical.

  15. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Trace: Buy locally! Support your local bookseller!  Eat only plants and animals harvested from people you know! Vaccines cause autism! Save the polar bears!

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Trace

    Then what, on Earth, is the point of your post? That it’s morally wrong to shop on Thanksgiving? Really?

    Take a day off from the consumerism. Reflect on how God has blessed you in your life. Plan ahead for milk if you need to.

    And think about how your decisions affect other people. · 2 minutes ago

    2 minutes ago

    I can’t say I understand your precise point here or what it has to do with what I’ve written. You seem to be conflating a few different issues.

  16. Spin

    “I got into a twitter fight”.  Is that anything like a yo-mama fight?

  17. Trace

    My point is that “consumerism” is a sneering, condescending way to describe capitalism. It carries the suggestion that finely-made, handcrafted items sold  by artisans who hand-write their receipts on recycled paper are tasteful and appropriate whereas inexpensive, plastic, mass-produced items (like snowglobes) are tacky and tawdry and inferior. 

    Markets are markets. People make stuff, people buy stuff. What is to you a high holy day of quiet thankfulness is to someone else just another day. I’m sure there are days held high by other religions that you treat as perfectly ordinary. 

    Your self-superior call to take a day off from consumerism is no different from those that advocate favoring local booksellers over chain bookstores or local shops over WalMart.

    And this kerfuffle over Target represents a hypocritical anti-corporate screed that feeds the general notion that capitalism is evil. So please, promote the virtues of a quiet Thanksgiving all you like, but don’t denigrate a company that is doing nothing wrong and by insinuation, those that would choose to use the dollars that they earn there on whatever day they like. 

  18. Dean Murphy

    Personally, I don’t agree with stores being open on Thanksgiving for X-Max shopping.  Nor do I agree that movie-going is appropriate on the day.  It should be a stay at home with family and enjoy the rituals that define *your* family time.

    If people did those things, it would not be worth it to the businesses to be open on that day.

    And why is opposition to stores operating on Thanksgiving tantamount to anti-libertarian?  Can’t Libertarians wish for their neighbors to be moral people?  Or is any desire for other people to act in any co-operative way imposing your will upon them?

  19. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Trace:

    And this kerfuffle over Target represents a hypocritical anti-corporate screed that feeds the general notion that capitalism is evil. So please, promote the virtues of a quiet Thanksgiving all you like, but don’t denigrate a company that is doing nothing wrong and by insinuation, those that would choose to use the dollars that they earn there on whatever day they like.  · 7 minutes ago

    You have read things into my post that weren’t there, but no matter.

    I guess the long and the short of it is that Target is free to do whatever it wants but that I’m not free to have a negative opinion about it or what it means for our culture in general or for members of my family in particular.

    I’m not convinced, but I do find your argument interesting, I guess.

  20. Ryan M

    Trace, I have to take Mollie’s side on this one. The point of federalism and free markets is limited government, not limited virtue. As consumers, we still behave according to our beliefs, even if we agree that the government should stay out of it. That said, thanksgiving is a family-based holiday, and employers should not force their employees to work that day. If an employer feels that it is exceptionally profitable to stay open, he may encourage employees to work by offering holiday pay- those without families or religious convictions would gladly accept.

    Lastly, the free market operates by allowing consumers to provide feedback on prices, in addition to many other things. Morality is one of those things. Contrary to what you said, Mollie’s post is perfectly consistent with, and even demanded by, free market economics.

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