This year, more than a dozen retailers will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, leaving millions of workers with little choice but to forgo their holiday to jumpstart the biggest shopping weekend of the year. With profits in mind, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Toys R Us, and more, have announced early Thanksgiving hours.
Still, there are a handful of places — large and small, national and local — that are resisting the pressure in order to give their employees a real holiday.
“That’s one day that’s a family day,” an employee at the Charles Ro Supply Company, the country’s largest toy train store, said of its policy to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. “Home life’s a little more important.”
Patagonia Head of Retail Marketing Vickie Achee explained the company’s decision to keep stores closed “so our associates can celebrate the holiday with their family/friends. This has been our tradition during our tenure in retail.”
Costco, Nordstrom, REI, Burlington Coat Factory, and American Girl also confirmed they’re closed on Thanksgiving.
While some closed stores may not be direct competitors to the big box retailers, staff also doubt some that will open, like Staples, are real contenders on the blockbuster shopping day.
Many companies that are opening on Thanksgiving have explained that employees are “excited” to work holiday shifts and to earn some extra pay. However, that’s rarely the full story. At Kmart, managers are reportedly denying requests for time off for Thanksgiving shifts that being at 6 a.m., even though the company claims this isn’t company policy. Meanwhile, part-time retail workers struggle with too few shifts on wages that pay well below a living wage, forcing them to work the holiday because they are already underpaid.
Even if they did have a choice, one in four workers do not receive any paid vacation time because the U.S. is alone in not mandating paid sick days, vacation, or holidays.
By Rebecca Leber, Bryce Covert, and Adam Peck