An Open Letter to Everyone Outraged That Some of Us Have to Work on Christmas

Categories: Random Ephemera

openletter1.jpg
Adam Smith via Wikipedia
Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterborough, UK
Dear Well-Meaning Sirs and Madames,

Though it was more prevalent over the Thanksgiving holidays, my Facebook newsfeed seems constantly inundated with outrage that some stores will be open on Christmas Day. Starbucks, for instance will be serving people the caffeine they need to face another political discussion across the dinner table at grandma's house. Denny's and IHOP will have hash browns ready as usual, CVS and Walgreens will be open, and those are just the national chains.

"Those poor people," I keep seeing. "They have to work on Christmas when they should be home with their families. Know what I'm going to do? I'm going to refuse to shop any place that's open on Christmas to send a message that this is unacceptable."

To which I politely would like to ask, "What the cotton-picking hell is wrong with you?"

First thing I have to point out is that there is a certain level of classism involved here. When people beat their breasts about folks having to work on Christmas or Thanksgiving, they aren't talking about nurses or police or power company workers or the folks that feed the animals at the Houston Zoo. Those people never seem to come up in the conversation even though hundreds of thousands of them at least will be punching a clock on December 25.

No, the subjects of the outrage are the clerks and fry cooks and wait staff. They're the poor slaves that are being fed to the machine of corporate greed. Can't we do something about them?

Which is really condescending. Since you're singling out this one class of workers as opposed to another you're basically saying that we're unimportant. That we can be done without for the moment. Yes, an emergency room doctor is worth more than the guy who makes sure the fries don't burn, but the reason the emergency room is still open isn't because of the worth of the staff. It's because people still manage to set themselves on fire and things like that even on Christmas day.

And people need hamburgers, too. People like the homeless who don't have a place to store and cook food on the day everything is closed. Meanwhile, if your contribution to an economic problem is to magnanimously not shop for a single day, then you really haven't offered anything of real worth. It's certainly not going to mean anything to the drug store that remains open so people can get medicine and figures that they might as well hawk sodas and chips while they're at it.

Which brings up another point that I will address with a question. Does your income ever drop because you take Christmas off? If the answer is no, then you probably don't have much in common with the people who are out there working the holiday.

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13 comments
MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Points I never considered. And right on the money.

joshwebster
joshwebster

Is a boycott EVER the answer? I agree, leave a tip if you feel bad. A big one. I had to mix a dozen shows the 5 days before Christmas, and it was brutal. The people that brought me cookies and wished me a Merry Christmas made me feel a lot better than the guy who stayed home and felt smug about "not supporting it".

Elaine Mesker-Garcia
Elaine Mesker-Garcia

As someone who works in the restaurant industry, I want to remind everyone about the other side of the equation - the customers we are serving. As a restaurant company who is open on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, most of our guests that come in on those days are so grateful we are open and we have become part of their holiday tradition. Many of those guests may be alone, far from their family in another city or state, elderly, dealing with illness or simply have no other means to make a huge holiday meal. We offer an alternative and many of them are thankful we do.

cybertoad
cybertoad

As someone who works in the restaurant industry, I want to remind everyone about the other side of the equation - the customers we are serving. As a restaurant company who is open on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, most of our guests that come in on those days are so grateful we are open and we have become part of their holiday tradition. Many of those guests may be alone, far from their family in another city or state, elderly, dealing with illness or simply have no other means to make a huge holiday meal. We offer an alternative and many of them are thankful we do.

carissanv
carissanv

Back when I was waiting tables and supporting myself and my daughter, I once had a customer hand me a $100  bill at the holidays. He told me to split it with everyone working right then. I think there were five us in the place at the time. Indeed, that was kind and thoughtful gift

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

You seem really upset about Christmas...

basshole
basshole

This is fantastic, Jef. Well said.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Because crime and injuries don't stop on Christmas day. Pretty simple.

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