Another Black Friday has come and gone with a lot of fanfare from the media. Of course there were plenty o’ deals mixed in with long lines, pepper spray, and fighting amongst one another for waffle irons and Madea Goes to Jail DVDs at Wal-mart. But the real story isn’t the sales during Black Friday, but the employees in retail who must work during the holiday in order to ensure that the big box stores truly go in the black during this time of year. While we are busy enjoying the pomp and circumstance of Black Friday, some (including myself) forget that people have to work instead of enjoying their Thanksgiving.
This year while looking over the Black Friday sales, I tweeted about how excited I was to be getting some good deals. A follower on Twitter (who wished not to be named) told me she was disappointed because I was participating in Black Friday. “Stores love to be greedy and don’t think about anything else but the bottom line….so I will be spending my Thanksgiving evening working because my store is open. I was threatened when I asked for the night off.”
Per a comment on another blog post I wrote about Macy’s being open at midnight on Black Friday:
No. They’re forcing employees to go through 9-14 hours of thanksgiving and then work 10 more hours until 9am the next morning. This crap should not be supported.
It’s true. The real cost of Black Friday is retail employees, many of whom didn’t opt in to work on Thanksgiving. And now that stores including Wal-mart, Target, and Best Buy are open at 12 midnight (or earlier), they can barely get in some turkey and trimming before they have to head out and work until later the next day.
One of my Thanksgiving guests had to leave my dinner in order to prepare to work at a large department store at the mall at midnight. And no, they don’t get time and a half because Friday is not a holiday.
The HR side of me understands business and the need to be able to compete in the marketplace. I also understand the need to have employees to take care of those coming into the store to shop. But the consumer side of me wonders if its worth the cost. It’s one thing to have employees volunteer to work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s another one to make it mandatory.
So what are your thoughts on Black Friday and opening at midnight or earlier on Thanksgiving day?