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

(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.

Shoppers stock up on Black Friday specials during the Macy's Lenox Black Friday store opening on Thursday, November 28, 2013 in Atlanta.
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)
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