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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Black Friday openings cut valuable family time

    Remember back when Thanksgiving was a time for family and togetherness? When the only focus was on watching the parade and spending time with those you love?

    Well, that was the past. Toys “R” Us will open its doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving and Walmart stores will open earlier than ever at 10 p.m. in anticipation of the shopping sprees to follow. More and more retail giants are deciding to start Black Friday on the Thursday normally reserved for non-commercial purposes. While many may just see this as a business decision that people can ignore, but this can’t just be ignored.

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has 1.2 million employees in the United States, according to its Investor Relations website. As the economy goes downhill, people cannot afford to miss a day of work that can help pay for their daily expenses. These corporations put their employees in positions where they have to choose between family and money. When it comes down to it, the employees will be forced to choose the money. These employees should not have to make these decisions when economic times are tough enough.

    The economy has been hard on many people, but there needs to be a point where business stops. Back in the early 20th century, pioneers for improving labor conditions fought hard to maintain some semblance of dignity in what it meant to work in the United States. The economic downturn has decreased the quality of life for citizens of all financial stature, but something we all share is a need to be together with the ones we appreciate. Trying to make a larger holiday profit at the expense of employee family time is morally wrong.

    While many businesses view early openings as smart choices, you must ask whether these corporations are only hurting their own reputations. How can a business market itself as family-friendly when it tries to devalue the holidays it promotes? Mega-retailers are starting on a slippery slope that will lead to their own demise.

    Looking at the futures of companies and the working class, one must wonder where the holidays end and commercialization begins. The economy has already hurt the giant corporations enough, but now the desperation has began to affect everyone. This situation has gone past the point of whether commercialization is bad enough or not. Now, citizens have to choose a side. Will they lose their job and have quality time with their family? Or will they work on a federal holiday and just hope that the future will rectify this down the road?

    People will see what is right, what is wrong, and how times of distress only require so many desperate actions. Taking advantage of the desperation of others to make ends meet violates everything that Thanksgiving represents. Thanksgiving is about coming together as a family and remembering what everyone is thankful for. There needs to be some respect left between the employer and employee. Otherwise, no shred of dignity will be left within the workplace.

    — Megan Hurley is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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