Recently on Facbook, I noticed a graphic going around encouraging folks not to shop on Thanksgiving Day. I’ve even seen a community, “Say No To Shopping on Thanksgiving Day”. The idea behind it is that it’s a family day and people shouldn’t be made to work on Thanksgiving Day when they could be at home with their families. How dare those money-grubbing, white-collar, business men who are running their business from some fancy corner office!
I’m not a big shopper anyway. If I’m in a department store, I like to go in, get what I need and get out fast before I catch whatever disease everyone else seems to have that makes them stay in a store for hours, looking for that perfect something they don’t need. I’m all for families being together on a day set aside for our country, for food being shared among family and friends. I grew up with a big extended family and big dinners, football games, leftovers, achy bellies, and lots of chatter and laughs. However, someone on my Facebook news feed posted an interesting thought: what about the people who DON’T have family and/or friends to share Thanksgiving with? That maybe they would RATHER work on Thanksgiving Day because it keeps them busy instead of sitting at home alone while everyone else is enjoying the day. I thought about the typical Wal-Mart greeter – older, usually retired, and gives a warm hello to everyone coming in and a cheerful goodbye to those going out. Maybe that person is widowed, their kids live in other states (assuming they even have kids), and they have no one to cook for. Maybe by working, they’re staying connected with the world, even if it’s to just briefly chat with perfect strangers. Yeah, if I were that person, I think I’d rather work that day, too.
It really gave me pause. A seemingly innocent and justified stand against consumerism may not be as black and white as people may think. So if you do decide to get out on Thanksgiving Day this year, be a little extra nice to those cashiers, greeters, waiters/waitresses, and salespeople. They may have another reason for working on Thanksgiving other than because their boss told them to and a kind word or two might just make their day a little bit brighter.