Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just because something is....

Just because something is doesn't make it right.

Last night I posted a link on Facebook to an online petition telling Target not to open at midnight for Black Friday. You see, Target has decided that 5 a.m. isn't early enough to lure shoppers in for super deals on the day after Thanksgiving. They have employees coming in at 11 p.m. so they can open at midnight. (You can bet the people who decided this was a good idea won't have to leave their dinner table to sleep before an exhausting 8 hour shift.)

A lot of people agreed that it's ridiculous and that the consumerism inherent in this decision, curtailing the ability of employees to enjoy a national holiday for the opportunity to earn a few bucks, is sickening. But I was surprised how many people defended Target, saying we live in a capitalist society so we have to put up with this. That this is the price people pay for working in retail and it isn't that different from doctors, nurses, EMTs, firefighters and police who work on holidays.

Just because something is doesn't make it right.

And I don't agree with those sentiments. I find the whole idea of Black Friday kind of nausea inducing, but people will shop. Opening the stores early is rather blatant and obnoxious, but there are people out there shopping. At least when a store opens at 5 a.m. the employees can still enjoy the holiday the day before, get a reasonable night's sleep, and still work.

This opening at midnight is gross. If someone has to be at work at 11 p.m., and get sleep, they need to have a very early Thanksgiving lunch. They'll be hitting the sack about the time the Macy's Thanksgiving parade ends!

But that doesn't get to the heart of the arguments defending Target.

1) We live in a capitalist society. Sure, but that is just our economic system. We still live in a democracy, where we can vote with our dollars. Do we really have to get the absolute cheapest price on some piece of stuff probably made in China? To steal from a friend, "has your Christmas ever been ruined by a present you didn't get?" Sure, companies are out to make money, but it shouldn't be at the expense of their employees. Because if no one has any money because all the companies only worry about stock holders, no one will be able to buy their products. Any forward-thinking business knows you treat your employees well because it is better business in the long run.

2) Just because you have had to work on a holiday doesn't mean every person who ever works retail has to. Just because something is doesn't make it right. Why is it assumed that just because someone has a job they shouldn't have a holiday off? Do we really want to defend workers not getting paid decent wages, not getting holidays or paid sick leave or reasonable insurance?

3) I'm sorry, but there is a big difference between retail employees and public safety workers. If Target doesn't open until 5 a.m., the world doesn't end. If an ER is closed or a fire department unstaffed, bad things happen. There's no comparison. So don't even try. And most of those necessary employees rotate through holidays. They usually work things out so if someone works Thanksgiving, they get Christmas off, or something similar.

Another friend really nailed it when she commented that she is angry because the stores opening early is taking the employees away from their families. All we have is time, and that is being taken away. Time is precious. Our families are precious. On a day when most people celebrate being thankful for their families, that is being taken away. When a lot of people don't have much money, celebrating the spending of money seems crass.

Just because something is doesn't make it right.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent thoughts. Thanks for sharing my sentiments. It's taken me a few years, probably since we first started having kids, to realize how precious that time really is. I think this year more than others, people need to think more about the time their spending with their families and friends and less about the things they're buying that have no inherent emotional value.

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