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Be thankful for family, not sales

Editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff

Editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff

Americans continue to prove that we are living in a material world. This year, Thanksgiving dinner for many is going to turn into Thanksgiving lunch as stores have decided to start their Black Friday deals on Thursday.

Money hungry companies have found their way into homes of Americans and will potentially ruin one of the few days families are able to come together.

Though starting Black Friday deals early may sound like a good idea for the economy, it will negatively affect retail workers – who often count on Thanksgiving as their only day off.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013, more than 4 million Americans work retail.

This year, as more companies like Toy R Us, Target and Walmart are opening earlier than last year on Thanks­giving Day, retailers will disrupt the lives of retail workers and their families as they leave their holiday dinners to head back to work.

Some stores are opening at odd hours, such as 6 p.m., right in the middle of dinner time. Meanwhile, other stores, like Kmart, are opening at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and staying open straight through to 11 p.m. Friday night, completely ignoring the holiday. One reason for this is that retailers are hoping to make up for a shorter holiday shopping season this year, since Thanksgiving is late. This may not work. In previous years, Americans have proved they have grown accustomed to shopping on Black Friday, not Thanksgiving Day.

According to a recent article in USA Today, starting shopping earlier does not increase overall sales. Last year, when a lot more stores opened for business on Thanksgiving Day, companies found the smallest increase in holiday shopping since 2009. Although customers technically had an extra day to shop, sales in 2012 only increased 3.5 percent from the previous year, and that had more to do with the overall economy than a Thanksgiving Day spree.

It is not worth it for workers to have to give up their holiday for slightly better holiday sales. Next year, retailers should stop being Thanksgiving Day Grinches and restore the holiday back to what it is: a day for spending time with loved ones and giving thanks.

Who are companies to deny retail workers the chance to have Thanksgiving Day off? It should be a day about being thankful for what we have, not about what we want.

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