Macy's Is Asking Employees If They Can Work on Thanksgiving: Report

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Shoppers in the Macy's Herald Square flagship store in New York on Black Friday
AlamyShoppers in the Macy's Herald Square flagship store in New York on Black Friday.
For the average consumer, Christmas Creep is little more than an annoyance: While you may find it tiresome to see Christmas commercials and sales in September, you can always opt out of the madness and shop at your own pace. But if you're a retail employee, you have less say in the matter.

We saw that last year, when retailers including Target (TGT) and Toys R Us jumped the gun on Black Friday by opening their doors early in the evening on Thanksgiving. Many of their employees weren't happy to have to cut short their Thanksgiving dinner, and one Target employee even launched a hugely popular petition asking her employer to push back the start time.

But the complaints largely fell on deaf ears, and now the Consumerist has turned up evidence that Macy's (M) will be getting in on the early bird action this year after opening at midnight last year. A tipster working at an unidentified Macy's store passed along a poll given to employees asking if they would be willing to work on Thanksgiving at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 8 p.m.

It's good that the retailer is at least asking for feedback from employees, but it's not clear how much choice they'll have in the matter. The poll was phrased in a way that implied that an 8 p.m. opening was already a done deal, so it stands to reason that some employees will be pressed into service if there aren't enough volunteers. Indeed, upon answering the question, employees were given the following message:

We will do our best to honor your preferences. Based on the needs of the business we may still need you to work an opening shift. Please be sure to review your schedule for any assigned shifts.


That's about what we expected. Last year Casey St. Clair, the Target employee behind the popular Change.org petition, told us that Thanksgiving was listed as a "blackout date" that employees couldn't request, and we're guessing that other retailers will have similar policies. And while this particular employee won't have to come in until 7:30 p.m., many Macy's employees will have set-up duties that require them to come in much earlier.

Maybe enough Macy's employees will say no to Thanksgiving shifts that the company will reverse course, but we're skeptical. Consumerist's tipster predicted that Thanksgiving shifts will become the norm in the near future, and we're inclined to agree -- at this point, enough retailers are opening on Thanksgiving that any store staying closed that night will be leaving money on the table. And unfortunately for retail employees, shopping on Thanksgiving does make sense for many shoppers: The early opening allows them to get to bed earlier than they would if doors didn't open until midnight, and there are actually excellent deals to be had on Thanksgiving.

So if you're one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans hoping to be hired as a seasonal retail employee, take heed: Working on Thanksgiving might be part of the package.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.


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Ally White

This article is misleading. We weren't asked about this as if we were helping them decide. It was a done deal that we were opening at 8 and it was either you take a split shift (7:30pm to 1:30am and you had to come back Friday afternoon) or a complete overnight shift (7:30pm to 5:30am). I was barely lucky enough to even have a Thanksgiving meal with my family, and I personally made a point to give customers who were in the store before midnight a shitty experience since they were clearly giving my employer incentive to steal this holiday from us retail workers.

December 11 2013 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Coran Justine

This is too much. Macy's is taking their employees away from family and friends simply to make some profit. It's like the Holidays meaning nothing anymore! Please sign our Macy's Thanksgiving petition and urge them to change their minds! http://www.returntoorder.org/petition-macys/?PKG=RTOLP010

November 16 2013 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Coran Justine

This is too much. No one should be shopping on Thanksgiving, and even if they are, companies shouldn't be catering to this consumerism. Please urge Macy's to change their mind by signing our petition: http://www.returntoorder.org/petition-macys/?PKG=RTOLP010.

November 16 2013 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mancusoja

If you shop on Thanksgiving, please DO NOT tell the overworked, overtired, missing-their-families employees that "its such a shame that you have to work on Thanksgiving". If YOU DIDN'T SHOP, WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO WORK"

They haven't even put the schedule up yet, so NONE of us know if we have to go in or not. We can't make plans with relatives out of our immediate area, we can't start to shop for Thanksgiving meals to have in our own homes, it's ridiculous. Stay home people, I beg you. But I know that you won't, because as much as "you feel bad", you're still going to shop. If you do, YOU are the driving force behind this problem.

November 10 2013 at 7:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Ritchie

I do disagree with Macy's!!! That's why I have signed the petition to keep macy's closed on Thanksgiving at: http://www.returntoorder.org/petition-macys/

November 02 2013 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debra

If you disagree with this policy, EMAIL Macys, Pennys, Sears, Walmart, etc.

BTW, if you do shop on holidays the least you can do is thank the people who wait on you for giving up their holiday to serve you.

October 15 2013 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nhphinney

Macy\'s, please reconsider! Your employees deserve the holiday with their families and to encourage people to come out after a day of too much food, too much alcohol, and too little sleep getting ready for it all is an invitation to disaster and a clear disregard for the value of family\'s togetherness and traditions.

October 14 2013 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
william.bednarz

I like Macy's. . . but I don't know....one day off?? I can't say greed BUT...

October 14 2013 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jjldnyc

Macys thanksgiving is a national holiday. It's a day to give thanks for all you have, and macys has a lot, so stop being so greedy and leave our holidays alone so everyone can enjoy their family and friends!

October 03 2013 at 10:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Shelly

Here is what my last Thanksgiving looked like. Got off Thanksgiving morning between 7 and 8 a.m. (I work overnights). Went home, got cleaned up, made the sweet potatoes and slept for a couple of hours. Went over to my parents around noon to have lunch. Was there for about 4 hours, spent most of the time helping to get things ready or cleaning up. Not a lot of time to visit. Went back home for a quick nap and to get ready to head back to work for a 12 hour shift.

6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Spent guarding pallets for the 8 p.m. sale. Have to tell people over and over again to get their hands off the sale merchandise until the sale begins. Why do the pallets come out so early before the sale begins: Can\'t get through the aisles. Total congestion. Hard enough for a person to move through the aisle, much less a pallet measuring 4\' by 4\'.

8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cashier -- can\'t not see end of the line

9 p.m. to 11 p.m. -- back to guarding pallets and directing people for the 10 p.m. sale

11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Trying to put the store back together. TOTALLY TRASHED. Merchandise left everywhere it is not suppose to be. Trash, empty drinks, food containers left everywhere. Chairs and cushions and anything else that can be sat on or laid on, left all over the store. PEOPLE ARE PIGS!!!!

5 a.m. to 6 a.m. Cashier for the 5 a.m. sale

6 a.m. -- WENT HOME AND CRASHED. By this point, I had slept less than 10 hours in the last 3 frigging days.

If I didn\'t have to be there, I wouldn\'t. I would much rather have time with my family. Can\'t even fully enjoy lunch, because you have to watch what you eat. Too much and you will be miserable for the rest of the night

SO for all of you who insist on shopping on Thanksgiving, YOU\'RE WELCOME! And, please don\'t tell me to have a Happy Thanksgiving, because there is nothing happy about it.
\'

October 03 2013 at 9:13 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply