By Justin Mannato - Varney & Co. Senior Producer
Many employees of Target and I'm sure a host of other retailers and various businesses won't be happy on Thanksgiving. They don't think their employers should open their stores on Thanksgiving night. In fact, a group of Target employees has even started an online petition urging the company to stay closed that night. As of this writing, it has collected more than 212,000 signatures.
First off, let me say this to anyone who has to work on a holiday: I hear you. And I feel you. I work in the news business. And while I could argue with my bosses until I'm blue in the face that no one watches the news on Thanksgiving or Christmas, we're still going to be asked to work.
That brings me to my "but," and it’s a big one: We - and you- just have to suck it up. Whether you work in retail, media, law enforcement, or any other industry that requires work on holidays, weekends, and late nights, we CHOSE to do so. I chose to work in television news. Am I happy about working holidays? No. Was I happy to leave my family before Sandy hit so I could stay in New York City to ensure I got to work for the first two days of the storm and its aftermath? No. I did it because that's the job I signed up for.
If you chose to work in retail, at a company like Target, you have to expect to work when others aren't working. Target is in business to make money.
That being said, I believe Target or any other store could generate an abundance of goodwill and positive publicity if they announced they were staying closed on Thanksgiving. They could say it’s a day for family and they are all about family. Positive press, for free. The customers would still come bright and early on Black Friday. In droves.
I made the same argument when I worked at a liquor store when I was in college. I thought it was outrageous that we were open on Christmas Day. "If you tell people we're closed on Christmas, they’ll buy their booze ahead of time.” I argued. “If they don't, too bad." I was angry at the thought of people who had the nerve to wait until the actual holiday to buy their $12 bottle of Chardonnay to bring to Christmas dinner. So I skipped work on Christmas. My co-workers were pissed at me, and rightfully so. But I refused to miss the holiday with my family so some degenerate could come in and buy his lottery scratch-off tickets. (I'm not generalizing. The guy I am referring to IS a degenerate.)
The day after Christmas, my boss, who had off for the holiday, asked me where I was. "It was Christmas. I'm off on Christmas," I told her. I was prepared to lose my job. I didn't...because they needed the help for New Year's. I had leverage. (I found a new job the following summer.)
That was my choice. And my job, not my career. I was young and idealistic and I took a stand and a calculated risk. We all make choices. And we have to live with the consequences of those choices. No one wants to work on a holiday. But if we are asked to, we have to. Or get another job.