It’s finally Thanksgiving morning; you awake to the smells of family recipes wafting through the air and the chatter of relatives throughout the house. Hopping in the shower you think about all the memories of your childhood; the laughter, the conversations, the last time your grandfather was well enough to sit at the table with all of you. With steam still filling the room, you open the shower door and dry off, fumbling for your company polo and khaki shorts. You quickly say your goodbyes and rush off to be ready for the “DoorBusters” at 9 am.
Unfortunately this will be the reality for many workers this Thanksgiving holiday. With a shortened Holiday season (what retailers call the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas), many chains are opening on Thanksgiving Day to encourage as much shopping and spending as possible. The workers necessary to run these “Pre-Black Friday” sales are being asked to forego their family time in exchange for a few extra dollars on their paychecks. In an economy where many are struggling, that extra cash before the holidays is a hard prospect to resist. That’s totally reasonable; many families could use the extra money to keep the lights on this winter.
The real problem is with the shoppers who encourage this behavior by retail chains. People who willingly forego their family time to save a few dollars on the big screen TV they probably don’t need; those that choose to spend their holiday time in a cold parking lot camped out waiting for retail workers to sludge their way past their families, out of their warm house, and to the cash register. Like most choices you make, the decision to shop on Thanksgiving Day affects many more people than just you. When large retail chains are rewarded by big sales for being open on a holiday, they’re much more likely to continue the behavior in the future. This Holiday season, ask yourself what will matter most in the long run: the memories made around the dinner table or saving $30 on Beats by Dre? I think you’ll find that there are some moments so valuable no discount can make up for missing them.