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Friday, November 14, 2014

First off, let me just say that I'm not fan of rules. Second, I shouldn't need to point out that Thanksgiving is a big tradition for some families and there is nothing more important than family.

With those two things made perfectly clear, it should stand to reason then that I would be vehemently opposed to the recent news that the Walden Galleria will fine stores $200 an hour if they don't open early on Thanksgiving. Except I'm not.

While it is true that I don't particularly like to be told what to do, rules are the backbone of every society. Without them there is chaos. Anarchy, even. And agreements — signed contracts — must be adhered to. If you agree to give me an apple in exchange for a pear, you better hand over that apple when I hand over the pear. Likewise, if you open a store in the local shopping mall, you better be open when the agreement says you are to be open — in many cases, whenever the mall says so.

Sure, retail employees that work at the Cheektowaga shopping center would rather be home watching football and eating another turkey sandwich with stuffing and gravy than dealing with snotty customers upset that they ran out of whatever it was they came for — "Christmas is ruined. And it's all your fault." — but no one forced them to work for whatever store they're working for. And no one forced that store to open an outlet in that particular mall.

The Walden Galleria's decision to force stores to open is no different than any stores that are open — including ones outside the mall — forcing their employees to work. It's just on a larger scale than we've seen before.

While some people will be upset and some might even boycott or protest, others will flock to the mall in order to get their widgets and whatzits just a few hours earlier than they might have before. It's those people that the Galleria is catering to. It's those people that have visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads.

And by "those people," I mean "us." Maybe not you. Maybe not me. But the grand collective.

Pure and simple, the mall wouldn't have the slightest inclination of opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving if they didn't know that there would be lines of customers waving $20 bills. The mall is just capitalizing on an opportunity — a need even.

This whole 6 p.m. thing is going to happen this year. I see no way to stop it. And frankly, I don't see it stopping next year either. Because the only way to stop it is for everyone to stay home and eat the rest of the pumpkin pie while watching football or a movie with your loved ones.

To quote my favorite comic strip of all time, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

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1 comment:

  1. The whole idea that retailers opening on Thanksgiving will produce more revenue is BS. Those same folks who aparently have no family life, that will be there Thanksgiving afternoon, would also be there on Friday if the stores chose to wait til then. They're not going to spend "extra" money because there's an extra day to shop. Most people have a holiday shopping budget and once it's spent, that's it no matter how many days there are to shop. I've NEVER been a union guy but in this instance I could see how union backing for the employees would be beneficial. There's no reason to keep these store employees from enjoying a major family holiday. They're going to deal with enough crap for the next 2 months between miserable shoppers and weeks of dealing with returns after Christmas.


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