Black Thursday?

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Black Friday shoppers at the Glendale Galleria crowd the escalators in Glendale, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014.

Arielle Weller, News Editor

As we approached the coming holiday season, large retailers nation wide announced their plans for the annual Thanksgiving “Black Friday” shopping extravaganza. According to the Huffington Post J.C Penney, Macy’s, Toys R’ Us, and Kohl’s all opened by Thanksgiving evening and Kmart was even open 6 a.m. Thanksgiving day. And while many argue that retailers being open for the holiday helps boost the economy and workforce, a poll conducted by Time Magazine stated that 6 out of 10 Americans say they “hate” or “dislike” that places are open Thanksgiving Day.

Keep in mind that only two years ago stores like J.C Penney weren’t even open Thanksgiving Day or did they participate in huge sales. A tweet they put out in 2012 said “Thanksgiving is for thanking, not shopping. We open 6am #BlackFriday w/ hundreds of amazing deals..” and yet this year they are one of the earlier stores that will be opening. Retailers claim they have to stay up on the competition in order to survive and make the yearly sales goals.

However other stores like Costco and Nordstrom say that Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to spend with family and loved ones.

“We profitably run our business during the remaining 358 days of the year, so we don’t have to sacrifice tradition for the sake of sales,” a statement from the Von Maur department store in Time Magazine.

As someone who has not only worked and managed in retail, but also has friends and family who do so as well, I can say from personal experience that the holiday season is one of the worst times of the year. Retailers often “black out” all of November through the first weeks of January from requests off to ensure that the    entire staff will be readily available and scheduled during this busy time.

Last year, before the holiday season I quit managing at Aldo Shoes because certain dates were blocked off and the hours were almost unbearable for what was thought to be an unfair wage, not to mention that employees were not paid time and a half for the holiday.

Former co-workers expressed that they had been either fired, or threatened to-be fired if they were to take any vacations or days off during the holiday        season. One woman who had been planning on going over seas to visit families for the holiday was told to cancel her $2,000 flight. Needless to say the entire staff that was once there no longer is, either by choice or termination.

It is well known that this holiday season will be busy for companies, but the people who suffer are the employees. Retailers claim that this will help the economy stay afloat and provide job opportunities to many but it still gives no excuse to take away family time from their associates. It’s one thing to have people work the morning after Thanksgiving on Black Friday at five or six o’clock but cutting into Thanksgiving Day around dinner is inconsiderate and greedy.

On Facebook a boycott has even started with over 65,000 ‘likes’ on the Boycott Black Thursday page. The page shows which stores are opening Thanksgiving Day and how the public should support the employees by “shopping here, not there.”

It seems the public has spoken on this issue but why do stores still feel the need to be open on Thanksgiving Day? Take a stand against this issue and spend time with your friends, family and loved ones. After the Ferguson incident many boycotted by not shopping at all and standing in solidarity against the social norm.

Or if you’re like many college students across the country and happen to be alone, nothing is more fulfilling on the holiday than volunteering at your local soup kitchen or shelter.  While gifts are a just a small part of the holiday season, let’s remember why we celebrate.