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I sympathize, but... (206.2) - Mark's Journal
I sympathize, but... (206.2)

I'm scratching my head over the Change.org folks getting behind a Target employee's petition to push back Target's Black Friday opening time from midnight to 5am. He says staff have to work the Black Friday sale or risk losing their job, and he says having the sale start at midnight means he can't have a Thanksgiving meal with his family.

Now, I'm all for keeping stores closed on Thursday so staff members can celebrate with family, but I'm not sure I get why a midnight store opening means he couldn't enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner first, any more than a 5am opening would. Either way, the retail staff member doesn't get a lot of sleep after the family gathering, and the shift at the store will be miserable, but that's pretty much the deal for retail jobs.

For what it's worth, an awful lot of people don't have that Friday off, and plenty more even have to work on Thursday, either because they're in a public safety job and they're out there protecting the rest of us, or they're in the hospitality field or travel services and they're helping us get where we're going or taking care of us once we arrive.

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traceroo From: traceroo Date: November 14th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)


I think I'm missing a logical step in your counterargument. I can understand why you might simply side with business owners and say that the workers are free to resign and work elsewhere if they don't like what's asked of them -- but surely the merits of the workers' argument are themselves obvious, whether or not you agree. What's to scratch a head about?

helianthas From: helianthas Date: November 14th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC) (Link)


Sale starts at midnight, staff need to be at store at 11, is an hour away, dinner is at 8, would like a glass of wine... I dunno, I'd rather have tday dinner with the fam and go to bed and have 4 hours of sleep than rush away from dinner or miss it to go to work.

Also, black Friday sales? Seem stupid to me. Ok an EMT is going to work a national holiday, but a dude making $9/hr at target? That sucks.

retrev From: retrev Date: November 15th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure about anyone else but we always had a Thanksgiving meal at 2 in the afternoon.
mistressarafina From: mistressarafina Date: November 17th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Us too.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: November 15th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Target

I would say the merits would only be obvious if the argument were "don't make me work Thanksgiving weekend," and I don't think it is. His argument is "Making me work for a midnight open is so different from making me work for a 5am open that it means I don't get to have a Thanksgiving dinner," and I'm having trouble buying it. If his family dinner is hours away, and he's planning on driving all night to be back for a 5am shift, which the midnight shift curtails, that's quite different from "They're not letting me have Thanksgiving dinner."
traceroo From: traceroo Date: November 15th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Target

If I had to be at work for a 5:00 am store opening, I'd probably want to get a full night's sleep beforehand. If I had to be at work for a midnight store opening, that means either going without a full night's sleep before what will be a busy night of work -- or cutting out of Thanksgiving Day celebrations early to get it.

kinnerc From: kinnerc Date: November 14th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing honestly to scratch your head about at all, Mark, once you take a look at it from the worker's perspective instead of the owner's. That it is "pretty much the deal for retail jobs" doesn't make it right. Slavery was "pretty much the deal for Black people in the South" in the 19th century, too.

I would argue that such shifts are safety issues for both customers and employees. Open the damn store at 0700 and make it a Black Weekend, or maybe even a Black Week. We might get through November with a few less senseless deaths that way.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: November 15th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)

I just don't think that has anything to do with Thanksgiving. Crazy store hours are a safety or health hazard? Maybe. But crazy hospital shifts or ambulance shifts or firefighter shifts or police shifts or 24-hour call center shifts are ridiculous for the same reasons.

As for the Black Friday safety issues, if they keep having substantial discounts with limited quantities, the safety issue applies no matter what time they open.
belindashort From: belindashort Date: November 15th, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it really doesn't make any sense
aregulardyke From: aregulardyke Date: November 16th, 2011 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Retail is Hell

No matter how ya cut it, retail is hell. I wouldn't want to be at a store at either 5am OR midnight ... which is why I no longer do retail ANYthing. All that matters to retail places is the bottom line and the managers performance bonuses.

As for dinner, who eats dinner at 8 pm ? Or is the family so unwilling to cut the guy a break, and maybe move dinner to, like, 6 pm or earlier ?

mistressarafina From: mistressarafina Date: November 17th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hotels, hospitals, cops, firemen etc are ALWAYS open. Sometimes you get to eat with your family and sometimes you don't. If you're in a job prone to being open on the holidays, you should get used to it.

When I've had to work on a holiday, I make alternate arrangements with my family. At the end of the day, a holiday isn't any different than any other day. You can have just as special a meal with your loved ones on Wed or Fri.
allyson13 From: allyson13 Date: November 20th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
For what it's worth, an awful lot of people don't have that Friday off

I don't and that means I can't party hardy for Turkey Day.

This year, I don't get the 26th off, so Christmas is going to be another one where I can't stay up late.

My only solace is that I'll get paid more for being at work on those days, but there are times where I would prefer the day off.
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