11/26/2013

Boycott Thanksgiving Shopping: A Worthy Campaign or Ridiculous Overreaction?

Thanksgiving: The Expectation
Black Friday is out of control; there's no denying that. Retailers offer crazier and crazier deals to entice people into stores and have begun opening earlier and earlier to get people through their doors first. After all, a store that opens at 1 AM is bound to get more shoppers than a store that opens at 3 AM. It's gotten to the point where the department stores have just done away with the "Friday" part of Black Friday and started opening the night before...on Thanksgiving. While it seems like a shitty thing to do, it's starting to become more prevalent.

Retailers are well aware of their actions when opting to open on Thanksgiving; that's why a majority of them offer their employees additional perks for choosing to work the holiday. These perks come in the form of overtime pay for the day or an extra check for the week, as well as trifling things like company-paid meals and the option to wear jeans and sneakers (which, when working retail, is a huge perk). It's not much but at least it's something to keep their employees happy while they have to be away from their families.

Thanksgiving: The Reality
Despite this, many people are calling for a boycott of shopping at stores that are choosing to open on Thanksgiving. There's even a Facebook group organizing the boycott (complete with a Naughty/Nice list) and a failed Change.org petition to the CEOs of those businesses. And even though their message is a good one, wanting to have the employees of these businesses spend times with their families instead of having to be at work, they just don't realize how hypocritical they are. Through all of the talk about working on Thanksgiving, I have yet to see anyone talk about one industry in particular.

Movie theaters.

Movie theaters are open every day, year round. Short of some sort of state of emergency or act of God, movie theaters do not close. And it's been this way for years. My point is that movie theater employees have had to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and many other holidays that most of America has off yet none of these "Boycott" groups have bothered to think about movie theater employees when they planned their temper tantrum against retailers.

Let's face it; this has nothing to do with someone's desire to have perfect strangers spend time with their families and loved ones and everything to do with a complete distaste for Wal-Mart. Otherwise, these groups would have organized years ago against K-Mart, who has been open on Thanksgiving for the last 22 years, as well as AMC, Regal Theaters, Cinemark and all of the other movie theater chains in the United States. But there hasn't been a peep about this; retailer boycotts didn't start until Wal-Mart and Toys R Us started opening on Thanksgiving. Again...hypocritical.

Fuck family. These people just wanted
to be the first to see Frozen.
When I was 16, I worked in a movie theater. Despite articles like this, it was probably the best job I ever had. And there were times that I had to work Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And New Years. Yeah, it sucked, but it was the job. I knew going in that I would have to work those days and so I did. I got the chance to see my family in the morning if I was working the late shift, or at night if I had to work early. There was no one calling for boycotts of my employer because I had to work. I went in, did my job and went home. 

I'm not saying that these boycotters are wrong; I have no plans to shop on Thanksgiving day so in essence I'm joining the movement by proxy. But they are putting so much energy into a half-hearted movement with complete disregard for the 30,000 or so movie theater employees in the United States. So, yeah, while their intentions or good, they are also half-assed at best.

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