Bibles, Bells and Bah Humbug!
By Marissa Burr, Opinion Assistant Editor
Andy Williams sings how “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but to whom exactly is he speaking? Certainly not the people stuck working at businesses that are open on any holidays that people may celebrate.
For us, the holiday season means the added stress of scheduling when you’re going to spend time with loved ones around when your manager demands you be present at work. I feel a sense of guilt about requesting to take off five days in a row so that way I can see as many family members as possible for Christmas.
I’m not necessarily advocating for businesses to close during every major holiday–especially because many take place in December including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. But I’m saying that managers and business owners should consider taking in all requests for time off and if a large majority of employees would like those days to spend with whomever they so choose, that branch of the company should be allowed to close.
Instead what’s happening is people are being guilted into staying in town until late the night before or even during the holidays that they celebrate in order to be there if a customer so happens to come in. They’re forced to spend the holiday alone because a business decided to stay open for the very few patrons that could possibly arrive. Sometimes the managers in charge of scheduling aren’t even clocked in because they’re with their loved ones and wouldn’t consider missing those moments.
Now I’m not talking about essential businesses here. God bless the hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, gas stations, and others that stay open on holidays in order to ensure that if an emergency occurs, a tragedy won’t happen because of a lack of resources. But we need to take a closer look at what should be considered essential. Call me a Scrooge but I don’t even think grocery or department stores necessarily need to be open on major holidays where a large portion of their workers had holiday celebrations they could be attending. If you didn’t buy gifts or ingredients for dinner before the day of, that’s on you. Don’t say “well what if you forgot an important piece and you can’t make this food without it?” You will survive. Your guests will survive. Uncle Joe will survive without having marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole. Don’t make the poor people of Walmart stay at the store missing their dinner because you didn’t properly prepare for yours.
In a nutshell, my opinion can be broken down into “if you don’t think you should have to work on this holiday, why should someone who celebrates with their own traditions do so?” Businesses stay open because people continue coming year after year because they can and the company only cares about profits and avoiding complaints. Let’s not reward bad behavior of waiting until the last minute and taking workers for granted by staying open. A lot of people will be more understanding than you think. I’m not Jewish, but if I tried to go to a business that said they were closed because its workers were celebrating Hanukkah, I would be fine with that and hope they were having a good time. Advertise that the business is not open on this holiday, and people will plan accordingly.
Remember, money isn’t everything and work should not hold people back from spending time with their loved ones. This may be the last holiday they have with them, so it isn’t fair to force them to miss those special moments.