An Open Letter to Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and the Gap

Out of disgust at their opening for “Black Friday” either before Thanksgiving Day was over, or at midnight on November 25 (thus requiring their employees to come in before midnight), I’ve drafted this letter to five companies I’ve patronized in the past.*

November 25, 2011

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing this letter to you because you opened for your “Black Friday” sales on Thanksgiving, thus depriving your employees of an opportunity to gather with their loved ones for a Thanksgiving meal in peace.

It is an act of utter disrespect for your employees to demand that they come into work on the Thanksgiving holiday—a day which should be reserved for gathering with those one loves and giving thanks for the blessings of life—simply so that you can make more money.

Injustice demands reparative action; therefore, I ask that you do the following things:

(a) Issue a letter of apology to each employee who was expected to be at work at any time on Thanksgiving Day 2011, and a press release indicating that you have apologized to those employees;

(b) Give every employee who worked at any time on Thanksgiving Day 2011 one full, paid eight-hour day off during the 2011 holiday season, in reparation for your denying them time with their family and loved ones; and

(c) Pledge that 2011 will be the last year your store will be open at all on Thanksgiving Day or anytime before 5AM the morning after Thanksgiving.

I am writing to you specifically because I have patronized your business in the past—but in honor of the employees you forced to work on a day that should be reserved for gathering with loved ones, I will be making it a point not to patronize your business during this holiday season, and to spend my money at establishments that have enough respect for their employees and their loved ones to remain closed until the morning of the day after Thanksgiving.

I will not spend one penny at your store until January 1, 2012 at the very earliest.

Further, I am publishing this letter on my website and on the social networks I use, in hopes that it will be shared with others and hopefully become a movement to deny our hard-earned money to companies that deny their employees a Thanksgiving Day with their families and loved ones.

James G. Gilmore

Please feel free to copy this letter and send it to companies that you patronize that made their employees come in on Thanksgiving for “Black Friday” sales.

* I’m not including places like gas stations or fast-food joints on this list, since I count them as a sort of “essential business” for people who have to travel on Thanksgiving. People need to gas up their cars to get to Grandma’s house, but they could have waited another day for a 42″ HDTV.

  • Yno

    what about walmart which opened on thanksgiving at 10pm or earlier , where as Best Buy opened at at midnight at-least it was not on thanks giving.

  • Guest

    I am baffled that, out of the hundreds (or thousands!) of terrible things that giant corporations do, you chose this issue on which to take a stand and write a letter. Rather ridiculous and trite in the grand scheme of things. And based on the dozens of people I know who currently work in retail or used to work in retail, I don’t think most employees care about the issue. First, stores start with volunteers who want to work Black Friday. Often there aren’t enough volunteers, so some employees are assigned to work. For most, it’s really not a tragedy. First, most people still get to enjoy a family meal that you write about. Do that many family meals really go until 11pm or midnight? No. Most Thanksgiving events are mid-day, and even the evening dinners are over much earlier than a worker would have to go to work. Second, lots of people wouldn’t be all that sad about missing a Thanksgiving meal. Many families aren’t the Leave-It-To-Beaver variety that you seem to think exists. I haven’t flown home for Thanksgiving with family in over 15 years, because it just isn’t worth the trip to eat a meal together on a silly holiday. Lots of other people feel similarly about Thanksgiving and wouldn’t think twice about having to work late that night.

    It’s nice that you care about social justice issues, but maybe put your self-righteous anger behind issues that matter more.