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Thursday, August 21, 2014 | Last updated: 1:14am

Black Thursday deals not worth cost to retail workers



We all have that family member who is willing to camp days before Black Friday in order to be first in line for that great deal. They set up outside their designated store, take a few days off of work and forsake Thanksgiving dinner for some savings on Christmas shopping.

This year, some retailers will allow shoppers to get their purchases done earlier, and they might just have a shot at getting some pumpkin pie upon their return home.

That’s because chain stores like Walmart and Target are opening their doors on Thursday evening rather than waiting for the iconic mark of midnight that has rung in Black Friday for years. Before that, the standard time to open was 3 or 4 a.m.

The Black Thursday phenomenon, however, is gripping retailers and shoppers alike with profits and deals available for those extra hours. But neither employers nor customers take into account the workers who are required to end their holiday dinners early in order to show up for work.

On holidays long past, workers could enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with their families, get a few hours rest before the big midnight rush, and work the wee hours of Friday morning.

But with retailers opening earlier and earlier with each passing year, the holidays are revolving more around profit than quality time with family and friends. Employees will have to report to work and miss out on Thanksgiving dinner.

Walmart is opening earliest this year at 8 p.m., two hours earlier than last year’s Black Friday. Target’s doors swing open at 9 p.m.
Undoubtedly, it is arguable that if someone signed up to work for one of these stores, or that if someone has been employed by the retailer for a long time, they should know about Black Thursday and adjust plans accordingly.

But with the economy in the shape it has been for the last five years, it simply isn’t realistic to say that someone chose to work for a retailer, and that they are happy to work on Thanksgiving. Many Americans who have lost employment or entered a workforce without any opportunities have resorted to jobs in retail to stay afloat. Many are college students or recent graduates.

Employees agree to work, and employers should honor them with certain days, like Thanksgiving, work-free.

Black Thursday is beginning earlier with each passing year to fuel consumerism without regard for the workers who are prevented from celebrating the holiday.

Workers aren’t taking the news of earlier openings too well.

According to an ABC News report, Walmart employees at 1,000 stores around the country are preparing to strike on Thursday, only the second strike in the retailer’s history.

Rightfully so. How Walmart chooses to respond as Thursday approaches will become more apparent in the next two days.

The issue becomes more apparent the more retailers encroach on their employees’ holidays, and even shoppers are noticing.

“I feel bad for all those workers who have to go into work on Thanksgiving Day for these extremely greedy companies who don’t even pay them well,” a friend posted on Facebook last week. “I can understand places needing to be open like hospitals, airports, etc., but these retail stores are insane. … Just for this, I am not going to go give my money to any of them. It’s just not worth it.”

If only more shoppers could think that way. But most will probably line up like mad hounds, giving up their holiday, and not giving a first thought to the workers who had no choice but to give up theirs.

— Andres Dominguez is a senior studying political science and journalism. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @AndresReporting .


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