There have been a lot of stories slamming companies like Toys R Us and Wal Mart for moving their Black Friday sales up a day – essentially turning them into “Thanksgiving Sales.” I agree that this whole move is a huge bummer and really not in line with the holiday spirit. I know first hand what a downer it is to work on the holidays. I am a waitress in New York City.
I have worked almost every Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving for the past decade. Why? Because New Yorkers don’t cook on holidays. It’s truly a mystery.
I don’t know if it is because of tiny kitchens, really expensive groceries, or the general orphan spirit that exists in a city filled with transplants. All I know is that on Thanksgiving day many restaurants are filled with customers. Coming from a suburban area of California, I was shocked when I learned not only would I be working on this holiday – but that it was our busiest day of the year.
Customers are generally nicer on holidays. They look at you with a sort of sadness – with an assumption that you have no other place to be on that day. Why else would you be serving them? I generally work on those days because we can’t really afford to travel around the holidays. I like to be able to help out my co-workers who can. Someone has to do it – it may as well be the person who has no plans on leaving town. But of course I’d rather be home with my family.
Toys R Us and Walmart are staying open to meet a demand. They know that hordes of people are going to come out for their sales – they might as well start a day early. They are businesses. They think like businesses. You can’t really fault them for that. And restaurants and bars in New York are staying open for the same reason – because people want them to.
One of the things that I love about holidays is the feeling you get when you walk or drive around town and nothing is open. The quiet. The non-activity. I miss that. But with more and more people opting out of spending these days at home with their families or friends, the quiet is going to disappear a little more every year – until everything is open and it is business as usual.
And I’m sorry about your tiny kitchens, New Yorkers. But don’t assume that I don’t have anywhere else to be just because my employers are meeting a demand created by you.