Holiday season not so jolly for retail employees

Saul Perales,

Melisa Salas is a full-time CSU East Bay student and retail employee. She’s been working at NewPark Mall for three years now. She believes that companies only care about their profit and benefit from employees like her that need the work. The only special thing she gets for holiday work is the option of working it or not without using her sick time.

“Majority of people think that because we are working holidays, we must be getting paid overtime or ’holiday pay’ but we don’t,” Salas said. “I would love to have a paid holiday, that way I can spend time with my family members that come from out of state to visit.”

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be thankful with family and close friends. Many celebrate the thankful holiday with feasts, football and the day off from work. Unfortunately, that is not always the case for those like Salas who work in retail. The Thanksgiving holiday comes with one of America’s biggest retail sale traditions of all-time, Black Friday.

“It’s become a family tradition the last couple years to skip Thanksgiving dinner to wait in line for retailers to open their doors early for Black Friday sales. I am excited to get my new IPhone 8 that is on-sale this Black Friday,” Terry Tom of Fremont said as he waited in line with his family outside of Target.

Retail stores increase seasonal hires and ask for all employees to open their availability for the holiday hours. Black Friday sales anticipate increased foot traffic, chaos and mess. However, Black Friday sales are no longer just on the Friday after Thanksgiving. There are many national retailers that open on Thanksgiving Day to begin their major Black Friday sales to capture early sales numbers, according to a 2017 survey done by National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics. Meanwhile, other businesses are fighting the retail holiday by remaining fully closed.

According to USA Today, on Nov. 2, Mall of America, “the largest mall in the country is again pushing back on early Black Friday sales by closing on Thanksgiving – but this time, it plans to take it a step further. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., is offering holiday pay on the Friday after Thanksgiving for the 1,200 people it directly employs.” Other major retailers were closed as well on Thanksgiving Day: Costco, IKEA, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Petco, Nordstrom’s and Burlington Coat Factory.

Although, Thanksgiving is typically a time where families gather around the dinner table to feast, there are many major retailers who open their doors around 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to begin their Black Friday sales. According to The Patch: Best Buy, Kohl’s and Macy’s opened their doors at 5 p.m., while Target, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods opened their doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

“I look at it as an American tradition now, it’s something you have to go out and experience at least once. Camping out is a part of the experience,” said Kevin Hills, a Hayward resident. “It is the adrenaline rush when the doors open and the excitement that really kicks off the ‘holiday spirit’ to shop till you drop.”