It’s the day before Thanksgiving and plenty of people are up in arms about certain big box stores being open tomorrow and keeping employees away from their families on Thanksgiving. Best Buy will be open on Thanksgiving at 5PM as will Toys R Us but the winner of all crappy employers goes to Radio Shack who will open at 8AM on Thanksgiving morning. I suppose Radio Shack feels the need to be open all day so that people will have a warm place to hang out until Best Buy opens up a few hours later.
“Why can’t Black Friday begin on Friday?” people proclaim.
“Employers should let their employees be with their families on Thanksgiving Day!” they say.
“It’s unfair for the greedy retailers to take advantage of their staff!” say people.
Yes, plenty of people say that today, but it doesn’t mean those same people won’t be out tomorrow cutting a bitch to get a 120” flat screen TV for $1.99. Before the tryptophan from the Butterball has even had a chance to make them drowsy, they will be running people over with carts and jumping through plate glass windows to be the first asshole in line at Target.
Every year on the news, we hear about how unfair it is for stores to open on Thanksgiving, but you know what we never hear on the news? We never hear about how unfair it is for restaurants to be open on Thanksgiving. Just like in so many other ways, the restaurant industry gets a pass card for treating employees with little or no respect. Raise the minimum wage? Yes, but not for servers. Give full-time employees medical coverage? Yes, but not for restaurant workers, just cut their hours so they’re part-time now. Retailers open on Thanksgiving? That’s awful, but leave restaurants open. Wal Mart is always making headlines about how their employees are getting the shaft with hours and not getting paid a fair wage, but not restaurant workers, they’re fine. Yes, it’s horrible that Macy’s and JCPenny will be open on Thanksgiving, but please for the love of all things holy, make sure Chili’s is open that day because someone might need to eat a plate of Texas Cheese Fries even though they already ate half of a turkey, a bucket of cornbread stuffing and two pecan pies. I don’t ever see anyone standing up for restaurant employees who have to say good bye to their family on Thanksgiving in order to go serve someone else’s. Before you jump all over me and bring up other professions that have to work on holidays like nurses, doctors, etc., let me just remind you that this blog is about the restaurant industry. A hospital has to be open 24 hours a day and when people agree to that job, they have an understanding of that responsibility. When someone takes a job slinging hash somewhere, they don’t necessarily assume they will never see their families again on any holiday because they will be required to wear an apron on those days instead.
The next time you hear someone complaining about how stores should not be open on Thanksgiving Day, why don’t say this:
“Yeah, I totally agree. There is no reason that anyone needs to go to a fucking K-Mart on Thanksgiving at 6AM. Those employees are having to get up at the ass crack of dawn just to sell some Martha fucking Stewart towels at 50% off. Twenty-five years ago, nothing was open on Thanksgiving, not even grocery stores. That’s what made Thanksgiving special; the fact that everyone was home that day spending it with their family. Close down the stores! Close ‘em all down! And make sure all the restaurants are closed too so those workers can be home that day as well!!”
If you say that, I predict that the person would reply with, “Oh, well, restaurants should be open because some people don’t want to cook on that day and they should have an option. So yeah, close the stores, but make sure Chili’s stays open. Somebody might want some Texas Cheese Fries or something. It’s just restaurant workers, who cares?”
You are then to say, “Fuck you.”