with Lynne and Leslie
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Target workers (not) home for the holiday: Should we boycott?

by SweetMidlife
target bag

We shop here a lot.

Leslie here!

My sister Lynne can verify that before we were legally able to vote in elections, we were taught to vote with our wallets – even if it was like a Mickey Mouse Velcro wallet with nothing in it but some weird lint that was stuck on the Velcro.

What that meant was that our parents were big on boycotting companies they thought weren’t acting in the best interest of humanity – we boycotted Nestle holdings, including Rusty Scupper, over allegations that the company was responsible for Similac deaths in Africa. When Lynne and I were in high school we boycotted Coke products, and holdings like Columbia Pictures because they had not divested in South Africa (although I admit that we caved when “La Bamba” came out. I blame Lou Diamond Phillips and his cute. I was weak.)

Those boycotts were about practical things that affected the lives of people on a continent far away, but there’s a situation happening in every American town with a Target – and a Macy’s, Kohl’s and Walmart – that affects a lot of our neighbors and their ability to spend Thanksgiving with their families – deciding to push Black Friday into Turkey Thursday.

Gobble gobble…but do it quick, y’all, because you gotta go to work.

Back in high school and college, I remember having to work on holidays at random retail, restaurant and entertainment jobs, and even as a younger reporter I had to work at least one Thanksgiving (at my current paper, even the veterans have to work at least one holiday, although I usually get to pick a non-major one that doesn’t involve family dinners.

Even though Christmas was always the holiday that I most wanted off because that’s when I traveled to see my folks, or they traveled to see me, Thanksgiving is a universal day that knows no religious bounds – most everyone in the U.S. seems to celebrate it. And the dinner is the most important part, which is why it seems cruel for so many stores to expect that their employees will miss it so they can make more money.

(It’s also disturbing to me that shoppers would cut their dinner short to go on an all-out retail assault just to get some deals, but at least they have the option of doing it as a family and their jobs don’t depend on it.)

I admit that I have never been a hardcore Black Friday shopper, and I’ve been in stores that day more as a reporter than for personal retail use. It’s crowded, and people seem justified in shoving, and most deals don’t seem worth not showing up Saturday, or online.

Thanksgiving used to be the holiday I hosted at my home in York, Pa., and now it’s the day that I watch the Macy’s parade and then the dog show on NBC over the phone with my sister and go “Ooh, I want that dog,” before we go eat some pie. My husband and I went to Wal-Mart last Thanksgiving for about 15 minutes because I needed some stuff I forgot for the macaroni and cheese I was making, and because there was a game for his nephews’ Hanukkah present that was on sale that day.

We didn’t linger, but we walked by a bunch of items in crates that were covered in plastic in the aisles, that were on crazy sale but not available till the evening. And I got sad, because even though this store is open 24/7 anyway, I knew that right then there were workers at home making a dinner they couldn’t eat with their families so that people could come back and save money on a Shiny-Whatever-That-Was.

I don’t want to sound like an obtuse person of privilege, however, who doesn’t recognize that everyone doesn’t have the option not to work holidays, and that stores like Target are paying their employees time and a half to work Thanksgiving, and that this could be a great opportunity for employees to make extra money. I appreciate that, and I don’t begrudge those workers for wanting it. They deserve double time. I just wish it wasn’t necessary. I wish that stores didn’t have to feel the need to do this to have to compete. I wish that we could hold something sacred and, I dunno, just offer better deals on Friday.

So I am not saying that I am targeting Target (ha ha) or any of these other stores for boycott. I am not sure how to make my voice heard, other than to not go to them on Thanksgiving. I’ll make sure I do all my food shopping on Wednesday.


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