Stores going to do what stores are going to do
Sights and sounds of the people going round, everybody’s in touch with the season.
- Gordon Lightfoot, “Circle of Steel”
You don’t have to look very hard to see signs of protest over some major retail chains such as Wal-Mart planning to be open for regular business all day Thanksgiving Day. More and more people are voicing objections to businesses “making their employees work on a holiday.” What are these businesses, just a bunch of turkeys just stuffing their pockets on a holiday?
The fact is, both sides are right. Using the old cliché, “I feel strongly both ways.” Businesses can open whenever they want to. It’s still a free country – even in the midst of a second Obama term. Likewise, people criticizing their opening are justified to do so as well. That’s the beauty of our free market system.
I called our local Wal-Marts and they confirmed that their operating hours Thanksgiving Day would be their normal weekday hours. I also called a local movie theater, and guess what? Normal operating hours on Thanksgiving Day. Where’s the protest against that? There are always football games on holidays, too. Any protests? I normally drive all the way across our state on holidays, and that means I always have to stop for gas and expect stations to be open. Perhaps theirs is a “work of mercy,” as many of us learned back in the day when kids went to Sunday school.
On Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, we all expect the folks at the power company to keep our lights and heating systems supplied with power. In this Information Age, we also expect on holidays that somewhere Al Gore is working to keep his brainchild, the Internet, up and running for us all, too.
Businesses that open on holidays don’t do it because they want to make their employees work and miss special times with their families. They do it because so many customers – so many of us - demonstrate that we want to shop, buy and perhaps miss time with our own families. So, if we want to stop chain stores from opening on holidays, I suggest we aim our disapproval at ourselves and our holiday shopping friends first, because the stores are only responding to our demands.
Will Haynie has published more than 400 oped columns as a feature columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News when it was owned by the New York Times. His niche is as a humorous conservative. Find him on Twitter at @willhaynie or email him at Haynie.firstname.lastname@example.org.