NaBloPoWriMo Servo: Day 13
I explained to the guys that November* is a busy month: in addition to Daylight Saving Time ending and people celebrating Movember, there’s Election Day, National Donut Day,** Veterans Day, and, my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Since today is apparently World Kindness Day and Thanksgiving is exactly two weeks away, I thought I’d combine the two (Thanksgiving & Kindness) to send out a personal kindness-related Thanksgiving request: don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. In fact, I’d love it if you didn’t go shopping on Black Friday, either, but I know for some of you that is a family tradition and unlikely to change.
I’ve worked in retail on-and-off for a number of years and at two different malls, including the Mall of America. It’s the type of job where you work on your feet, running around (or standing), dealing with customers who not only think they’re right on everything, but that they’re also entitled to be rude. Not all customers, of course, but enough to make it unpleasant, and the holidays in particular magnify this. Most retail workers make minimum wage*** and spend nights and weekends making sure you can buy that very specific thing that you just have to have (but, really, don’t actually need), and often they don’t get holiday pay. At my last retail job,**** my boss wouldn’t let me take my legally required 10-minute (yep, 10-minute, not 15-minute) break during a 5-hour shift when I was the only other person working. I’ve heard other retail horror stories of being made to clean up barf or chase down shoplifters, and store clerks often get held up in cash register robberies.
I love Thanksgiving and I’m so grateful to have a job that gives me the day to spend with my family. I know there are some jobs that absolutely do need coverage every single day (police, firefighters, farmers, EMTs, hospitals, bus drivers, morticians, etc.),***** but retail isn’t one of them and until a few years ago most stores were closed on Thanksgiving; it’s the only non-religious holiday (and in some cases, the only day) that stores stay closed. Or at least it used to be. You don’t need to go shopping on Thanksgiving, so please, for me, don’t go. Spend that time with your family. Anything you would buy will still be there on Friday. And, if you own a store, stay closed on November 27. Show your workers that you are thankful for them on what is intended to be a day of giving thanks for all that you have. Not a day for buying more stuff that you don’t really need.
If you really want to be an activist-shopper, don’t go to any of the stores that will be open Thanksgiving at all this holiday season. I understand some places can’t be avoided (and, obviously, I shop at Target). But I’m going to try to do this as well. And I’m going to try to shop locally (not Amazon) at smaller, independent stores as much as I can during the holidays. It might not make a difference, but at least I’ll feel better knowing that I didn’t contribute to other people having to work on what should be a day of rest, fellowship, and gratitude.
*How come there’s no Yestember? Yestuary? I think that should be a thing.
**Okay, this might be my favorite holiday. There’s also, according to MentalFloss.com’s “11 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in November,” Sandwich Day (Nov. 3), National Men Make Dinner Day (Nov. 6), Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day (Nov. 14), National Bundt Day (Nov. 15), National Flossing Day (Nov. 28), and the ties for my personal favorites: Abet and Aid Punsters Day (Nov. 8) and Stay Home Because You’re Well Day (Nov. 30).
***Don’t get me started.
****Which, I hope, is my last retail job. At least until I’m retired.
*****Special thanks to these folks for working all the time.