PERSPECTIVE: No price on family


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McKenna Corson

I remember being back in elementary school learning all about international holidays during the winter season.

The most cherished aspect of each holiday, no matter what set of beliefs, was the importance of celebrating family and being with those you love. Even holidays not specifically centered around the idea of family still had something to do with celebrating it with those close to you.  

No matter what religion or culture, holidays would be different if celebrated alone.

Growing up, I always looked forward to the holiday season. I thought I loved the holidays for childish reasons: no school leading up to Thanksgiving and around Christmas, tons of food, the ability to sleep in and relax. I would count the days until I could just stay home and put all thoughts of school aside.

I always thought the amount of gifts I received or lack of activities I did was what made a successful holiday. And then I thought a bit deeper.

Without my family, I wouldn’t have had all those gifts. When I curled up to the fireplace watching a movie, my family was always right there with me. No matter what I did, some family member could be reached by only a few footsteps. Even if we didn’t talk, my family and I would find some way to be in each other’s presence for the holidays.

And I didn’t think much about it until I joined the hell that is retail.

I will never forget when I first gave Old Navy my Thanksgiving break availability three years ago. I thought, like a complete fool, that my open availability still meant I’d see my family for Thanksgiving dinner. I opened the email containing my schedule to see that among the shocking amount of hours I was given, I was scheduled to work all Thanksgiving afternoon until early Friday morning.

The only thought my bewildered brain could muster was: Who in the hell goes shopping on Thanksgiving?!?!?!?!

Why has this culture apparently put retail and “getting a good deal” above holidays and family?

I understand Black Friday, but why can’t the deals be limited to just that Friday? Those in charge of these big businesses deciding to extend sales onto holidays aren’t the ones who have to miss family time. More big sales means more money, so why not make Black Friday start Thursday?

I ate my Thanksgiving dinner from a plastic tupperware alone in the Old Navy breakroom at 2 a.m. Another year I had to spend Thanksgiving folding sweaters and pajama pants, my mom made us all eat Thanksgiving dinner at noon so we could be together.

Businesses try to spice up the punishment that is coming to work on holidays with increased holiday payment. But would I rather be at home talking to my uncle and cousin whom I see once a year? Yes, I would.

Due to the large crowds of people who come ready to stop at nothing to buy festive fuzzy socks and jeggings, I can’t call off of work either. I am required as an employee to have some kind of availability during Thanksgiving and holiday break.

I completely understand the necessity of certain workplaces to be open on holidays, like pharmacies, hospitals and grocery stores. I even understand the idea of limited hours on holidays if a business must be open.

But no one can put a price on a family. Employees shouldn’t have to miss seeing loved ones on days where family should be celebrated. People can go without their rockstar-style jeans for a few hours on Thanksgiving so I can see my family.

So, thank you retail and this disgusting commercialized culture for taking me away from seeing my loved ones.

And most importantly, thank you for making me work at 4 a.m. Saturday morning to replenish the store after Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales as punishment for going out of town for Thanksgiving.


McKenna Corson is the general assignment editor. Contact her at [email protected].