Of course, for a lot of my co-workers, Thanksgiving was not a day off at all — something the news business has in common with several other professions. I read a lot of back-and-forth this year about whether it is OK for stores to be open on Thanksgiving; whether it is OK to ask anyone to work on a holiday; and whether we make a bigger deal about Wal-mart employees having to work than we do the nurses, police officers, firefighters and others for whom working on holidays is the norm.
But I think there is a difference between the Wal-mart worker and the nurse, firefighter ... or journalist. In some professions, it goes with the territory. (Mind you, I'm not trying to equate what I do with what firefighters and nurses do; it's not even remotely the same thing. There are a few similarities, though, and odd hours are one of them.) But should it in retail? I think we can forgive the retail worker for wanting the day off on holidays. And I think we are right to question retailers who prioritize revenue over their employees' needs on what are, in the United States at least, really just a handful of days on the calendar.
On a related note, this piece in The Nation is a reminder of what is sacrificed so that American consumers can enjoy deep discounts on Black Friday. The good news: By shopping small and supporting independent businesses, you can withdraw your support of companies that pay workers substandard wages and allow inhumane work conditions. I've been "shopping small," for the most part, for about two years now. It's remarkably easy, once you get into the mindset, to simply ignore major retailers and focus on what's available elsewhere. Sure, it takes some practice. But what better time than the holiday season to start? You may be surprised how peaceful you will feel once you tune out all the fliers, pop-up ads, "doorbusters" and other chatter.
Slouchy sweater: Thrifted
Arm warmers: Hand-me-down (these are actually my daughter's legwarmers!)
Dark denim flares: Thrifted
Clogs: Rummage sale
Total cost to me: About $5