Working in Retail on Thanksgiving

When I think of Thanksgiving I immediately think about spending time with my family and enjoying a wonderful meal. Secondly, I think about the shift I will end up working later in the evening of Thanksgiving.


Businesses being open on Thanksgiving is a pretty controversial topic and I can definitely understand the logic to both sides. Some people do not celebrate this holiday and want to be able to enjoy their day, but those that do celebrate the holiday are taken away from family time.


I have worked Thanksgiving for the past two years and while it definitely is not my preferred way to spend the day it does carry a different energy. My job opens up at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day and walking into a store with a line of people outside can be extremely overwhelming.


I usually have a cup of coffee with me because, hey, I just ate a big meal and I am about to work a long shift, I am definitely going to need it. Most of us that work at my job celebrate Thanksgiving so we are all a little bummed to be away from our families. However, that seems to fuel our “fake it ‘til you make it” positive attitudes for the night.


Once the doors open up and the flood of people come in our store functions better than any other day of the year. Despite the stereotypical idea that all customers coming in are rude and rushed most of them are actually very kind and there because the only way they can afford some of the gifts for Christmas is from the sales.


I am lucky with my family because we usually have our Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime, so I get to see them for a few hours before work. Being constantly busy on Thanksgiving evening does make the shift go by incredibly fast.


Working Thanksgiving became a reality to me only two years ago and I know many people that have been doing it for much longer. It was a shock to me because I grew up with Thanksgiving being for family and being together.


Working Thanksgiving can definitely be a bummer and I cannot wait until it is no longer an issue for me, but a cup of coffee and a positive attitude makes it a little bit easier to get by.