Chill Out, Activists: Working Black Friday Is Fun
There are other ways to fight for retail employees: Angela Harmon
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2013 1:48 PM CST
Shoppers stock up on Black Friday specials during the Macy's Lenox Black Friday store opening on Thursday, November 28, 2013 in Atlanta.   (Paul Abell/AP Images for Macy's)

(Newser) – People like to hate on Black Friday and its gradual encroachment onto Thanksgiving, often "offering righteous indignation on behalf of retail workers who can’t spend the holiday with their families," writes Angela Harmon on Salon. But as a former retail employee who volunteered to work the midnight shift at New Jersey's largest mall, Harmon has to wonder how many people who complain about Black Friday and its impact on workers have ever actually worked in retail. There's a lot about retail "that just plain sucks," Harmon writes, but working on Black Friday is not one of those things.

First of all, many employers offer double-time pay for Thanksgiving hours or even early hours on Black Friday itself, and many employees want that extra pay. Second of all, the craziness involved makes the shift just plain fun. "Don’t forget that people have long worked on Thanksgiving, at supermarkets and convenience stores and 24-hour diners. I guess I always saw holiday work shifts as a necessary reality of the retail job I had chosen," Harmon writes. If you really want to be an activist for retail workers, "champion for fair, appropriate wages for those working on Thanksgiving who are not making more than their regular hourly rate." Click for Harmon's full column.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
sunniladi
Dec 1, 2013 5:48 AM CST
shame on these stores and their ever-increasing greed. they couldn't care less about their employees, the plans they make, guests that may be coming in from out of town/leaving town, etc. thanksgiving is their family time, not a day for serving their corporate masters.
793tango
Nov 30, 2013 5:35 PM CST
Gee none of the retail employees I talked to wanted to work Thanksgiving OR Black Friday nor did any of them find it 'fun'. I didn't find it fun when I worked Black Friday either. It's true retailers will pay double time to people working. Well SOME will. Others basically say 'work or get fired'. Walmart pays double time but ONLY if you work the day BEFORE and the day AFTER as well, so you have to work 3 days in a row to get your double time pay. True SOME occupations are required to work Thanksgiving anyway; police, fire dep, hospital, nursing home, private security etc. But the addition of supermarkets is recent. And even then they only have limited hours not the 36 hour marathons that some retailers are requiring. It wasn't all that long ago when everything was closed on Thanksgiving. Even conveneince stores. THEY were the ones who began to buck the trend and then the supermarkets began to open for a few hours. Now almost no one is closed on Thanksgiving. I'm glad MY company is.
Alethinos95
Nov 30, 2013 1:50 PM CST
What a crock... I HAVE worked retail - too much. I've also been a manager and had a crew working for me. NONE OF THEM were 'happy' about working Thanksgiving (and worse, Christmas). They would work it because they were DESPERATE FOR THE MONEY, not because the few extra dollars (much of which gets CHEWED UP IN TAXES) did anything for them except make the problem of buying groceries a wee bit easier. I doubt if Evann (and is that a 'stutter' in your keyboard fingering) actually did cheerfully work a holiday and if so I have to wonder about your state of awareness - including social awareness.