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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Thursday: give thanks, don’t shop”

    It’s upsetting that you have to worry about starving bean pickers in Africa every time you buy a dark roast, but this Thursday you’ll be destroying Thanksgiving as well. Two for the price of one.

    Considering the country’s lack of consumer morality and all-around ambivalence, it’s not so surprising that Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for many restaurants, bars, movie theaters and coffee shops. Year after year, people justify or fail to realize – or care – that the people working these jobs are foregoing a national holiday to serve you tacos. You may reason that people actually like working Thanksgiving because of the tips or atmosphere or whatever, but trust me, you’re wrong.

    Many businesses that are open on Thanksgiving require every employee to work, just because of the logistical and managerial concerns associated with letting someone default. As a waitress who worked eight hours last Thanksgiving, I remember the sentiment surrounding the day. Nobody – absolutely nobody – that I talked to wanted to work. Even though we made a considerable amount of money, it just wasn’t worth it. Many waitresses are single mothers who were sacrificing their kids’ Thanksgiving as well, and just as many servers are college students.

    This may seem callous to say, but students probably take the worst hit on Thanksgiving Day. A quick look at the 2007 UA Factbook shows that 10,306 nonresidents were admitted as undergraduates last year. This is even more than the number of residents, which is 9,397. And “”resident”” means that you live in Arizona, not just Tucson. A huge number of students go home either to Phoenix or somewhere else over the holidays.

    But college students are the ones who typically work these jobs and are forced to sacrifice. At least a mother can go home to her children and slap a pie or two into the oven before the day is up. But student workers don’t have anyone to go to. If your family is in a different city, there’s just not enough time in the day to work and see them.

    That’s why it’s extremely important to think ahead and think compassionately starting today. If you usually get hungry later in the day after your feast, go to Safeway this week and pick up some ready-made meals. Buy some coffee to make on Thursday, instead of going out. Rent a movie, instead of seeing one. Heck, buy some beer and have a party at home. Watch television, eat turkey, spend time with your family.

    Wait until Black Friday to go out and spend your money. Inside Tucson Business just published an editorial lamenting the state of the economy and the plight retailers are facing this holiday season. There is nothing better you can do than to go out on Friday, after Thanksgiving is over, and buy a T-shirt or DVD player. We’ve already seen businesses like Mervyn’s and Linen’s N’ Things go under, and the rest are counting on these Black Friday sales to stay in business.

    It’s too bad that many students will have to work the day after Thanksgiving, but working then isn’t as bad as losing your job. Plus, no matter how many people boycott Black Friday, it seems naive to think they’ll stop the sales. Black Friday is so entrenched in our culture, and there’s so much riding on it, that these students will be working no matter what.

    But you can make a difference on the local level. Unlike many others around town, the Starbucks on University Boulevard will be closed on Thanksgiving. It’s naive again to think that this is just a case of the good old-fashioned Starbucks goodwill. The store is most likely closed because it isn’t profitable enough. That’s that.

    If we can do this to other businesses around the area, think how many Thanksgivings we can save next year. We may not be able to turn the tide of capitalism, but we just might be able to make a difference in at least one student’s holiday. And really, wouldn’t the triumph of responsible capitalism be a great American accomplishment to celebrate? Our country is criticized for its rampant disregard for the worker, but we could prove everyone wrong. Thanksgiving would be much stronger if everyone were allowed to celebrate it, but also if we had something we were proud of to celebrate.


    – Andi Berlin is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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