Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving - Another Viewpoint

This year, I have noticed a number of posts on Facebook, denouncing stores that are open on Thanksgiving, and boycotting them for the rest of the year or beyond. While I doubt I will be shopping on Thanksgiving Day (or Black Friday for that matter), I do want to share a different viewpoint.

My dad was a doctor.  For most of the 1950s, he was the only internist in our area that provided services at our small local hospital.  He was always on call.  As other doctors moved into our area in the 1960s, they were able to share call schedules.  Maybe once every three years, we were able to celebrate a holiday without having to be concerned that he would be called away for a hospital emergency.  So growing up, we rarely celebrated Thanksgiving on the traditional fourth Thursday in November.  We didn't always get to celebrate Christmas on the 24th or 25th.  It's just the way it was.

When my sister and I grew up, got married and had families of our own, my mom chose to always celebrate the holidays on the day (or weekend) after the traditional date.  She did that so we didn't have to chose which family to be with.  She told us it was not the specific day on the calendar that mattered, but it was the intention of celebrating with family and friends at some point.  Even more to the point, it was important to be thankful every day of the year, not just on that fourth Thursday in November.

And of course, there are services that have to stay open, regardless of what day it is.  Hospitals, Fire Departments, Police Departments, PUD services.  We don't boycott those offices/services. Often their employees have to celebrate on another day, or perhaps at inconvenient times.

And what about restaurant employees?  Airline pilots and flight attendants?  Bus drivers? Gas station employees?  The baristas at your favorite coffee stand?  I am grateful some of them are working on holidays.  I'm sure at some point over the years, I've used their services/businesses on a holiday. I won't boycott those businesses.

And then there are the stores that choose to open for the day.  Some grocery stores are open at 7 am and close early so their employees can get home to celebrate.  As prepared as I try to be for company and dinner on any holiday, I am often jumping in the car and running to pick up that quart of milk, package of rolls, pound of butter, or something else I forgot to get or ran out of unexpectedly.  I am so grateful those grocery stores are open.  I am grateful to the employees for working.  And I hope the employees are rewarded with time and a half or double time pay.

I've spoken with people who work for big companies who volunteer to work on holidays.  Their holiday pay means they can more easily afford gifts at Christmas or whatever is needed that their budget does not allow.

On a personal note, my step-son works for a casino.  He often volunteers to work on the holidays so that people with families can have the day off.  I know his customers appreciate his working….his tips on holidays definitely are plentiful!

In most of these cases, people don't forego a Thanksgiving celebration if they have to or chose to work.  The celebrate on a different day.

Also keep in mind that the great deals that are offered by those big stores that choose to open at 7pm, 9pm, or even midnight are very much appreciated by shoppers trying to make their dollars stretch.

Whether or not you chose to shop on Thanksgiving (in person or on-line or over the phone - remember there are people working to take those orders too) is up to you.  I hope I won't be shopping because I'd rather spend the time with my grandkids…and shopping is not on their list of a fun way to spend the day, unless of course you are talking ToysRUs and buying whatever suits their fancies at the moment.  But I will NOT be boycotting the companies that choose to stay open.  If I've learned anything over the years, it is not to judge anyone's actions other than my own.  What I will do is say a prayer for everyone who has to work on Thanksgiving.  I pray their employer's appreciate them and reward them for their service.  I pray the customers that the employees deal with are pleasant, complimentary and polite.  I pray for everyone's happiness.

Wishing you all a very blessed Thanksgiving, whether you are shopping, eating, watching football, enjoying family and friends, playing a competitive game of pinochle, or whatever it may be!