You're currently reading an archived version of Jim Hightower's work.
The latest (and greatest?) observations from Jim Hightower are only now available at our Substack website. Join us there!
Everyone from the Obama family in the White House to my little family in Texas will take a deserved pause from the unrelenting intensity of work on Thanksgiving Day. But millions will not get a work pause.
Such workers as firefighters, police and hospital workers must stay on the job, but they’re providing essential services for our society. Yet Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Radio Shack, and other retailers are also requiring their low-paid workers to report. Why? What’s essential about buying gewgaws, gizmos, or garments from these mass marketers of consumer excess that justifies them forcing employees to give up this family day of giving thanks?
Enjoying Hightower's work? Join us over at our new home on Substack:
Retail giants already exploit the day after Thanksgiving, which they’ve dubbed “Black Friday,” for an orgy of commercialism. Yet that’s not enough to satisfy soulless profiteers. So they’ve moved their Black Friday start back into Thursday, during the family mealtime of Thanksgiving Day itself. Some are even opening their doors at 6 am on Thursday, essentially wiping out this day of family grace for every employee they require to be at work. Show up… or lose your job. Thanks, boss.
A mall outside of Buffalo has gone even more extreme, requiring its 200-plus stores to open on Thanksgiving Day or pay a $200-an-hour fine. What we have here is the insatiable excess of what Pope Francis recently condemned as “unbridled consumerism.” Yet a Walmart PR flack claims to be doing consumers a favor by staying open on a spiritual day to “provide what consumers need.”
Bovine excrement! Walmart has nothing that needs to be bought on a holiday, and any of the stuff it sells can be bought the very next day from Costco, Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Patagonia, and other stores that respect their employees and America’s values by closing on Thanksgiving Day.
“Spending: Retailers Are Facing off Over Closing or Opening,” The New York Times, November 15, 2014.
“New York Mall Will Fine Stores If They Don’t Open On Thanksgiving,” www.alternet.com, November 12, 2014.
“Mall Will Fine Stores If They Don’t Open On Thanksgiving,” www.time.com, November 11, 2014.
“Pope Francis: ‘Unbridled Consumerism’ Is Destroying Our Planet,” www.ecowatch.com, November 13, 2014.