What’s with the complaints about stores being open on holidays?

Over the past few years (what, 5-10?) there has been a lot of outcry over people who have to work major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. People even call for boycotts of these stores, hold protests, etc… Honestly, though, where is this coming from? Employees working these holidays is nothing new!

For as long as I can remember people have had to work these holidays. Not including emergency workers (police, doctors, firemen) or military (which these examples are critical and needed) many businesses have been open these days. Some grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and other various specialty stores have been open. It’s not just retail, too. Some restaurants and most hotels are open. We can’t even stop there.

Did you watch TV? Maybe a parade or a sporting event? Well, those people had to work (and not just the athletes and the people in the parade – announcers, vendors, ticket sales, etc. for the event) and TV stations need people to run, even if it just seems like reruns or movies all day. Did you browse the internet or your phone? Guess what, people need to work there, too, to make sure things are running. Plus all these employees needed their support people available, too, in case something went wrong. Many people who work in customer service are working these days, too. Delivery trucks (not to deliver but to get packages from one hub to another) are driving. Logistics and inventory is also moving during these days so that it is available when the customers return the next day. I am sure I am missing a lot of other people who have to work these holidays, too.

I’ve only noticed that these protests, boycotts, etc. have some only after large retailers started opening Thanksgiving night. It seems that before, no one paid attention to the people working (or were too concerned that they had to work these holidays but once mass retailers do it it’s a reason for people to boycott?
Seriously, what makes these people so special? Why the uproar when the large retailers do it and none for the smaller businesses who have loyally stayed open for our convenience? I never see a restaurant or a hotel in these list of places to boycott. No grocery store chains, no pharmacies, no one saying don’t watch TV or go in the internet. Just since the mass retailers.

Before people say “well, I bet you never worked those days” and guess what, I have. Front line and in a support role. I won’t say it’s great, it sucks but you can make your plans around your work schedule (which you usually get in advance). As far as I know no one works 24-7 and will usually have a shift that can accommodate getting together with family (morning or evening) so they can enjoy some of the holiday with them. Many managers will also accommodate their crew the best that they can (some employees would prefer to work one day over another).

So I ask again, what makes these mass-retailer employees so special that people need to boycott their stores? Or, dare I say, these boycotts are called by the employees themselves because they don’t want to work these days (BTW – I know people who volunteer to work these days and longer hours due to extra pay!).

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