OPINION: Stores should be closed on Thanksgiving

What used to be Black Friday shopping has now crept steadily into Thanksgiving Day. Retail stores should respect the integrity of Thanksgiving by closing their doors for the holiday and allowing their employees to enjoy their families at home.

Thanksgiving is a day intended to be spent in gratitude and with loved ones. However, many retail stores steal the opportunity for employees to enjoy their turkey dinner and instead insist that they remain working.

Stores forcing their employees to work extra hours on Thanksgiving is wrong, and most of the country agrees — according to a PBS survey of more than 18,000 people, over 97 percent at the time of publishing believe that employees should be given the day to be at home. These hardworking people deserve the time off to be with their families, not working registers under threat of termination if they don’t show up.

According to an article by USA Today, Kohl’s and Target stores don’t allow employees to even request off for Thanksgiving. Many managers require all employees on deck, no questions asked. If employees ask for the day off they’ll be turned down, and if they don’t show up they’ll be fired. At least 350,000 people work for Target alone, according to their corporate fact sheet, most of whom will be dressed in red and khaki instead of their Thanksgiving best.

“My family doesn’t start eating until 7 o’clock,” senior sports management major Rafael Piscopo said. “It’s totally unfair that employees are expected to work around that time on such a treasured holiday.”

Luckily, over 75 major retail stores have chosen to be closed on Thanksgiving Day, including Publix, Costco, Barnes & Noble and Petco, according to Best Black Friday.

Retailers argue that Thanksgiving is a big day for sales. However, they can still close their doors and make a profit online. Because of the accessibility of technology, more people shop online — the one place where stores never close. Instead of promoting their sales exclusively in person, retailers should push online sales so that employees can go home.

From an economic standpoint, stores pushing so many sales on Thanksgiving dilutes the excitement for future sales, resulting in lower overall profit, according to Business Insider. By closing their doors on Thanksgiving, businesses open a new door of opportunity for sales during the later Christmas season.

This Thanksgiving, stores need to be closed for their employees to go home, and encourage online shopping instead. By not contributing to their profit, stores may close next year, allowing their employees to finally have a delicious turkey dinner.

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