If there is one thing that's made this country and many others great, it's tradition. I don't mean to get all Fiddler on The Roof here but many traditions are fantastic. Like family dinners, brunches and other things which have positive societal impact. One of these of course is Thanksgiving where families gather together and spend the day. Of course its become less sacred as stores have decided to open on this day. Recently in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan wrote a column which encourages people to stay home on Thanksgiving which in turn would theoretically reduce the need for stores to open on this holiday.
Here is an excerpt:
But Thanksgiving itself? It is the day the Pilgrims invented to thank God to live in such a place as this, the day Abe Lincoln formally put aside as a national time of gratitude for the sheer fact of our continuance. It's more important than anyone's bottom line. That's a hopelessly corny thing to say, isn't it? Too bad. It's true.
Oh, I hope people don't go. I hope it's a big flop.
Stay Home America
There are a few ways of looking at the trend of companies opening on what was once a sacred day. There are people who want to go to stores during this holiday weekend but hate crowds. In theory, with another shopping day, the crowds will be a bit smaller on any given day meaning a more pleasant shopping experience. Moreover, the e-commerce threat hasn't abated and having stores open another day during the busy holiday means there is a higher likelihood that brick and mortar stores will be profitable. Then there is the issue of consumer choice. I live in a state Connecticut which once forced stores to close on Sundays. As you might imagine, it was an inconvenience. Even until recently, liquor stores were forced to close on Sundays. Beleive it or not three states, Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts currently ban stores from opening on Thanksgiving.
Now onto the problem which has lit fires on the internet. The workers. Many are asking if it is fair to the people working at these stores to have them come in on a holiday. Many of these cashiers, stocking clerks and janitors are actually happy they are working on this holiday because they get extra time off as an incentive and even time-and-a-half pay. Others of course are not because work is interfering with once-sacred famility time.
The best solution to what seems to be a dilemna faced by many in the country is to leave the issue to get sorted out by the free markets. For many information workers - it is not uncommon to work on weekends, nights and holidays thanks to smartphone and tablet proliferation. In other words, working on holidays is something tens of millions of workers already do. It just seems to be the way things are headed, like it or not.