This Store Won’t Make Its Employees Come To Work On Thanksgiving

CREDIT: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Nordstrom told ThinkProgress that it will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year, resisting the trend for retailers to kick off Black Friday shopping deals on the holiday itself and thus make workers come in.

“As is our tradition, our Nordstrom stores will be closed on Thanksgiving,” a spokeswoman said. “The reasoning behind that is we believe in celebrating one holiday at a time. Over the years, our tradition has been to be closed on Thanksgiving and to unveil our holiday trim the following morning.”

Nordstrom joins at least five other chain stores that have decided to remain closed and allow workers to stay home. Costco told ThinkProgress it will be closed because, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families.” Dillard’s explained its decision by saying, “We choose to remain closed on Thanksgiving in longstanding tradition of honoring of our customers’ and associates’ time with family.”

But as with last year, some retailers have decided to begin Black Friday a day early. Macy’s has already announced it will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for holiday shopping, and Walmart will be open all day, meaning that nearly 1 million of its employees will come to work on the holiday. More are likely to make similar announcements given that last year at least ten other major brands were open on Thanksgiving.

Those like Nordstrom and Costco may actually benefit more in the end, however. Last year, half of consumers disapproved of the early openings and the vast majority said they didn’t plan to shop on the holiday anyway. Twenty percent said they would be less likely to shop at stores open on Thanksgiving. The earlier hours don’t create more sales anyway.

And while the stores that will open claim the shifts are filled by volunteers, many employees likely don’t have much of a choice. None of them are guaranteed paid holidays, the same for all Americans, and just 45 percent of those in the service industry actually get such a benefit. Some workers last year reported being denied their requests to take the day off. Even those volunteering may be doing so because retail schedules are so erratic that many can’t get the hours they want to be able to support themselves.


In a follow up email, a Nordstrom spokesperson clarified that some workers will have to come to work to set up holiday decorations and keep customer service lines open. “[F]or the past 40+ years, some of our employees work on Thanksgiving eve and into the wee hours of the morning on Thanksgiving Day to decorate our stores with our holiday trim. This is mostly a group of employees who have volunteered to be there and some bring along relatives or friends to join in.” The spokesperson added, “We’ll also have a small team working in our Call Centers on Thanksgiving to serve the many customers who shop online that day.”

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