Saturday, December 1, 2012

Family / Dollar

No, I'm not talking about the department store. I'm taking about the choice between what's more important: family or dollars? Is Black Thursday Friday now a reflection of the "American Way?" There's so much greed in this country that it's a wonder that anyone cares about his fellow man these days.

Everything is centered around making profits. Everything. Black Friday (which is not a holiday for black people) has always been the one day that retailers could rejoice in knowing that they would make a profit. People line up in front of stores just waiting for the doors to open at 4 or 5 AM. After the doors open, they'll stampede down the aisles looking for that bargain item of choice.

However, things change. With the internet now being woven into our daily lives, Cyber Monday became a second day for retailers to make a killing on sales.  Consumers could sit in front of their PC's and point/click their way to great deals.  But, even that isn't enough for the retailers.  Hmmmmm....  How can they make even more cash?

Oh, I know!  They'll open up the stores on Thursday evening and start the sales then!  It doesn't matter if employees are pulled away from their family's dinner table because a profit is more important!  Right?  If it doesn't make dollars then it doesn't make cents (sense).

Stores across the country opened their doors early which required employees to cut their Thanksgiving short and I think that it sucks.  Don't get me wrong.  It's essential that certain people work on holidays.  Customer service centers are always needed to provide help for cable, cell phone, insurance companies.  But do you really need someone to sell you an HDTV at 9 PM on Thanksgiving night?

I had a discussion with my homie, M&M, about how Target and Walmart employees were threatening to strike over the fact that they had to work on a holiday.  They were upset that these stores were taking them away from their family time and rest.  M&M agreed. 

He mentioned how when Sam Walton was alive, he stressed his employees being happy at Walmart.  However, when he died in 1992, his family did the exact opposite of what he would have wanted.  They started opening on Sundays and eventually went to a 24/7 superchain store.  The employees became an after-thought because the only focus of Walmart was to make money.  It was no longer an all-American store either as agreements were made with China to make just about everything in the store.

So, the employees have to come to work and we, the consumers, take full advantage of it without giving it a thought.  We roll into these stores with these disgruntled employees and then get upset over poor customer service.  I guess that's the trade-off you get.  You get employees selling you an HDTV on a Thursday night, but you get the attitude along with it because that person can't even enjoy their own TV at home with their family.  When employees become only a warm body to their company, then you can rest assure that the customer service will suffer.  See AT&T.  If you don't believe me, then go to a Chick-Fil-A restaurant if you're ever in the South and see how great their customer service is.  It's the best I've seen ever and I've been to a lot of places.  Not working on Sundays or holidays does something for morale.  I'm just saying.

With each passing year, money becomes even more of a focus.  How can we possibly expect children to learn how to care from one another when adults don't?  Is it so important to add another million to the billion that you already have that you'll cut someone's holiday short?  Why not use the internet for early sales on Thursdays instead of requiring the physical locations to open?

Don't get me wrong.  I love convenience.  It's nice to need something in the middle of the night and know that I can go get it.  However, I understand that employees have lives and I wouldn't want to come in between them any more than someone doing it to me.  I'm pretty sure that not one CEO worked last Thursday.  They sat at home and took naps after eating turkey while Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat had to pay for a babysitter on a family holiday so they could work overnight.

I once was naive enough to think that things could change, but I think that we're too far gone in this country.  We don't care about each other and eventually, we will be one step away from cutting each other's throat for a competitive edge.  These big corporations don't care if you spend time with your family or not.  They just want you to make their money.  Yeah, you may get holiday pay, but wouldn't you at least want the option of your family or a dollar?

Am I wrong here?  Do stores put more focus on money than their employees well-being and will it hurt us as a country in the long run?

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