Police, firefighters, and nurses & doctors. Truckers, hotel staff, travel staff (pilots, car rentals, cruise ships, flight attendants). Other travel workers (e.g. airport staff such as TSA, food courts, etc.) and parade workers / organizers.
No, these aren’t jobs I dreamed of as a kids – well, a firefighter was one of them. No, these are just a few of the jobs that have people working on Thanksgiving and getting a footnote of attention (if even that much) amongst all the hype of consumer businesses choosing to be open on the fourth Thursday of November. A day dedicated to the celebration of making it through a winter (and subsequent summer) in the new world.
Not a day celebrating the birth of a savior (Christmas), the days God killed first born sons in Egypt except for the Jews (Passover), or any other religious believe. Nope, it’s a celebration of people surviving in the new world where thousands / millions of natives already were surviving.
So what’s the big deal about working on Thanksgiving vs. being at home? “Being with family…” is the common argument I’ve heard. From all the movies I’ve seen everyone dreads being with family this much because all the men will be watching football, aunt so-in-so will get drunk and hit on any of her niece’s husbands or boyfriends, and the kids are noisy.
“No, it’s because corporations are being greedy!” is the another point I’ve heard. Well, I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but business exist to earn money. Are they being greedy by opening one more day of the year than years past? No.
However, the problem is greed. Consumer greed. That’s right, the shoppers. They want the best deals. They want the newest products. And they want it now! They’ll push, pull, bite, kick, trample, or maim whomever to get the latest doll, video game console, or sweater for their special someones.
Why don’t I blame the business? Because they are reacting to the consumer which is exactly what they should be doing if they want to survive. When shoppers started lining up to get into stores with blow-out sales on Black Friday the stores started opening up earlier and earlier, but still on Friday. Then someone at some company bet they’d have customers on Thanksgiving if they opened on Thursday. And guess what, they did. The next thing you know, more and more companies joined in.
Take away: if you don’t want to work on Thanksgiving, work for the government; heck, you’d have roughly 300 days off a year if you did.