Thankful for Work

November 16th, 2011 by Penny Nance

A petition to shut down Target on Thanksgiving.

Here are a few of the jobs I have had in my life: Cracker Barrel waitress, K-Mart stock girl and blue light special promoter, banquet hostess (complete with busing tables and washing dishes), sales clerk at The Limited, and other sundry minimum wage paying jobs.  The really coveted shifts back then were holidays, when we got paid time and a half.  Some folks don’t like holiday shifts, but I used to trade to get to do them.

That’s why the petition drive by Change.org — the left-leaning petition site specializing in “social change” (“Top Causes: Animals … Economic Justice … Environment … Gay Rights,” etc.) —  is so comical.  Many retailers are announcing they will be open (or open late) on Thanksgiving, in hopes of getting early Black Friday shoppers.  Change.org is particularly cranky because the decision to open at 11 p.m. diminishes Thanksgiving.  Really?  Did they bother to talk to the workers before pulling such a blatant PR stunt?  Many workers are just “thankful” to have a job and extra money in their paychecks.

I get that working on holidays is not fun.  I’ve done that.  And if it’s possible for you to take the time off to be with your family for a time of focusing on God and the many blessings He’s given you, well, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.  But in this time in the life of our nation, one of the biggest things most of us can thank God for is our jobs, and anyone working retail — or hospitality service for that matter — knows that working nights, weekends, and holidays is part of the deal.

And while I understand the line of thinking that says, “Thanksgiving is a national holiday and everyone should be off,” that’s not what the leftists are getting at.  “A full holiday with family is not just for the elite of this nation,” the petition reads.  Busted!  “The elite of this nation” = “We’re not really championing the workers or their right to thank God; we’re just another bunch of whiny, anti-corporate thugs who want to ‘Occupy Thanksgiving.’”

The fact of the matter is, our nation is in the middle of a deep, dark recession, retailers are struggling, and, whether we like it or not, Black Friday is so named because it’s the one shopping day that keeps many retailers profitable.

Folks, I sympathize with the struggling family who knows that, while it may be hard to lose dad in the evening, the time and a half pay he’s going to get will put meat on the table next week.  So I commend the stores for opening their doors, stimulating sales, and putting a little extra cash in their employees’ wallets.

Congress could take a page from their playbook.  Concerned Women for America (CWA) recently commissioned a poll of voters in early primary or caucus states.  Ninety-four percent of Republican Iowa voters believe that our national debt is holding back economic growth.  While they supported a range of measures to go after the $15 trillion debt, they were nearly unanimous in their ire.  Our national leaders must buck up and cut spending, and our workers have to buck up and go to work if they want to get paid.  As a nation, we must do the hard things.

What’s more American than eating a meal with family and friends, thanking the Lord above for blessings, and then going to work?  If workers want to give up the opportunity to be paid time and a half on a holiday, then God bless them.  However, there’s always going to be someone who is willing — and grateful — to work the holiday.  Hey, I know some D.C. Occupiers that could use a job (and a shower, but that’s another blog post).

The bottom line is that the real way to grow us out of this mess is through our entrepreneurial spirit.  I look forward to the day when someone figures out there is a profit to be made selling coffee to the shoppers as they stand in line.  Not sure if OSHA would shut them down if, God forbid, they don’t have an industrial kitchen, but that’s another conversation about over-regulation.

This Thanksgiving, lots of people will sit down around a table and enjoy time with family and friends.  Once the tryptophan wears off, however, we are off to our favorite stores, whether to shop or work.  If you’re shopping, be kind to others, but especially to the workers.  Let’s show them that we’re thankful they chose to work.

Personally, I plan to “save money” and “live better” at Walmart!  Where will you be on Black Friday?

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