Where I get opinionated about Thanksgiving, gun control, and more

Confession time: I recently wrote out a whole blog post with my unpopular opinion on a relevant issue today and I decided not to post it. I’m glad I didn’t, too.

But you know what? I think sometimes I play it too safe, and am overly quiet. But I have a voice, I have opinions, and I have a convenient platform here with which to express them.

Here are my thoughts on: stores being open on Thanksgiving, the woman who recently gave the finger to the president’s motorcade, and gun control.

an open sign in front of a shop

Stores Have a Right to Be Open on Thanksgiving

I support stores being open on Thanksgiving. I view it as a supply and demand thing – if people are willing to shop on that day, it makes sense from a business perspective to keep the stores open.

At the same time, I also support those who feel the opposite and choose not to shop on Thanksgiving. That’s the only way to get the stores to close. If enough people don’t shop it won’t be worth it to them to pay employees to be there.

When I worked retail I enjoyed working on the holidays. There was a different, fun spirit in the air and I got to wear holiday-themed earrings that I’m a huge sucker for. I have not worked on Thanksgiving, granted, but I have worked on Black Friday and Christmas Eve several times.

I have never shopped on Black Friday and have no interest in doing so. But last year, I did shop on Thanksgiving for the first time. At Michael’s Craft Store. While others were racing to get the best deals on electronics I was browsing scrapbooking items. I enjoyed the shopping trip very much and the employees were pleasant.

I do believe when retail stores hire their employees they should disclose that there is a decent chance – or possibly a definite requirement – that they’ll have to work holidays. That should be clear upfront, and not a surprise.

If they’re able to pay extra for working a holiday, that is awesome. If not, some other benefit or incentive to working holidays would be great – whatever is in the manager’s control.

For instance, if it were me, I might host a company-paid happy hour for employees working that day, offer to give those employees an extra day off at another time, or would otherwise make a compromise where possible.

But, yeah. They have every right to be open.

I Understand Why the Bird Flipping Woman Was Fired

A Virginia woman was recently fired from her job after being identified as the cyclist giving the finger to the presidential motorcade. I think her employer was in the right to do this.

Free speech protects you from the government, not your employer. In most states, you can be fired for exercising free speech, including political free speech.

Today, the lines are blurred more than ever between personal life and work life.  I do believe that when you’re out in the real world, not working, you’re always to some degree representing your employer and you need to be keeping that in mind.

With this case, the woman was not wearing anything that identified her as being an employee of this company. Nor did she post about this on her social media. But still. The photo went viral and people know who she is and who she worked for.

There is a big BUT to this story.

According to the Washington Post, this woman was “in charge of the firm’s social media presence,” and had recently brought something to the attention of her employer: a senior director at the company made a comment on social media to one of his employees calling him a “f****** Libtard a******” And that guy didn’t get fired.

That is pretty wrong. Now the company is clearly picking and choosing, instead of sticking with the written rule they cited when firing the bird flipping lady.

So yes, I’m admittedly flip flopping a bit here. They were in the right to fire her – I’m still sticking to that – but they handled the other situation poorly.

It’s Not Too Soon to Talk About Gun Control

I don’t find it disrespectful to talk about gun control right after yet another mass shooting has taken place. Too many have happened already – way too many. If now isn’t the right time, when is? A week after the shooting happens? Oh wait, another shooting happened, I guess we’ll have to wait again.

4 thoughts on “Where I get opinionated about Thanksgiving, gun control, and more

  1. Stores open on holidays – I agree that they have the right to be open and people who are offended by that have the right not shop on holidays, and to chose other stores when they do shop, if they really want to send a message.

    Companies firing employees that get sideways with company policy, while not firing other employees for similar transgressions – That one is a little trickier, to me at least. And I don’t believe that it is a Free Speech issue. If I was an employee there I would want to know why the distinction was made between the two incidents. If I was not satisfied with the rationale, I might be looking for a new job.

    Gun control – It is never a bad time to discuss the issue. Although I personally do not understand what anyone would hope to accomplish with that discussion. Every instance of murder with a gun, including every instance of mass murder with a gun, was not committed by a gun. We have a problem with people. And the problem is not getting better, it is getting worse. I do not have a solution to that problem. I do know that no amount of gun control will solve the problem. People who want to kill people will find a way to do it. They do it with home-made bombs comprised of fertilizer and diesel fuel. They do it with cars and trucks. There are lots of ways to kill people, if that is your mission. Controlling guns will not stop murders or mass murders. A lot of people throw out a lot of statistics concerning gun deaths in this country. Most of the people who do that distort the statistics to their own purposes. Most of the gun deaths in this country are from self-inflicted gunshot wounds – most of them intentional, not accidental. People like to point out the number of children killed by guns, but they don’t talk about the fact that more children die from drowning in swimming pools than as the result of gunshot wounds. So yes, this is as good a time as any to talk about gun control, but gun control will accomplish nothing positive. The right to own guns in guaranteed by the constitution because the Founding Fathers recognized that government that is corrupted is more dangerous than an armed citizenry. The people in government and in politics even if they are not in government, want to control who has the guns so that they can do as they want without fear of reprisal from an armed citizenry. If you want to solve the gun death problem you need to first solve the people problem.

  2. I agree with all you are saying and I admire your ability to express yourself in a respectful way that gives room for discussion and differing opinions. I am terrible at that (see below) but I’ll share my opinions anyway. Thanks for sharing yours!

    I am personally not a huge fan of Thanksgiving. If the holiday were simply about being thankful for what you have, being thankful for the year’s harvest, and spending quality time with family, then of course I would be all for it. Many people do celebrate it that way and I’m not judging them. This time of year everything is getting colder and darker, and it would be easy to get a bit depressed, so I like the balance of having holidays to look forward to and to boost your spirits.

    That’s not what this holiday is about though. Thanksgiving is associated with the early settlers’ relationship with Native Americans. You might as well say “Happy Genocide Day!” If it’s OK for native Americans, who is to say genocide is not OK for other groups of people? If Hitler had won, he might have created a holiday to celebrate too. The concept of a Hitler Thanksgiving makes me lose my appetite, but when you think about it that’s what we’re doing.

    One could argue that sure, horrible things were done in the past, but we’re better now. Not really, though. Standing Rock was just last year, and the United States decided that convenient gas was more important than allowing Native Americans to have safe, clean water. The pipeline was moved downstream to avoid risking water for U.S. citizens, but Native Americans were not allowed the same courtesy, even though we owe essentially everything to them. I do not call that being “Thankful.”

    I’m not saying that everyone should give up their beloved holiday. Like I said, it lifts people’s spirits and gives them time with family, and I understand people’s need for that. I’m just hoping that people will be a little more less judgmental if others choose not to celebrate it. No one should be forced to celebrate a holiday they do not believe in. I agree with you that if someone doesn’t like a certain business being open, then they don’t have to work or shop there. Personally my family is coming to visit (I mean, it is 2 days off) and we intend to go out to eat that day. There are open restaurants and we want to support their business. Also the Buffalo area seems to have more native American tribes and population so I’ve been asking around to see what we can learn or do that might be more supportive. We will still enjoy each other’s company either way!

    In the Northeast, Native American tribes protest with the National Day of Mourning, and in the West it’s Unthanksgiving Day.

    I also agree about the bird-flipping woman! What the company did sounds hypocritical based on what we know so far, and I can’t stand the idea of employees being treated unfairly. That being said, I’ve always worked in an “at will” state so I do feel the work agreement is a two-way street. An employer can fire you, or an employee can quit, and neither party owes the other any explanation. Honestly the less you say, the better, because if you give a reason then you are locked into that reason. Then it can be scrutinized for fairness/discrimination/etc.

    If it were my business, I would have kept her. Considering approval ratings right now, I think that could have been a more profitable decision than firing her. It would also be consistent with the treatment of that other employee. Then I could have made a statement. “Her opinions do not reflect the opinions of our company, but we respect our employee’s rights to freedom of speech outside of work.” Then we’re off the hook but we can still earn a little extra business by showcasing our 15-minutes-of-fame employee.

    Think of all the companies that have issued statements over the last year or so. Tic Tacs, Skittles, Tiki torches… I’m sure it’s less about getting political and more about exploiting the spotlight to reach the majority of consumers. I would have followed those trends.

    (Says the girl who has never and will never own a business =P so I could be totally wrong.)

    I’ve basically given up on gun reform but it’s comforting to see a lot of people are still trying. Citizens in our country continuously choose mass shootings as better than any small amount of gun or mental health reform. There is so much evidence from almost any other country in the world, showing how even just a couple small restrictions can reduce the frequency of mass shootings. Maybe that doesn’t seem logical, but there’s tons of data and it all says the same thing. There is a consistent and predictable correlation between easy access to weapons and weapon associated deaths. I would love to believe that the right to bear arms still applies in order to keep the government in check, but honestly all they have to do is hack the electric systems and take away our power. They have nukes but they wouldn’t need to use them. When it comes to modern warfare, firepower is just for show, like feathers on a peacock.

    I would also love to shift the focus to mental health, but that’s been reduced/ignored/rejected by the federal government as well. Repeatedly. So we do nothing for the insane and we do nothing to limit who has access to any number of guns and ammo. The Brady law was ineffective because it makes certain transactions illegal, yet NICS does not have all the information necessary to really determine who falls within the law and who does not (especially mental health information). People on the no fly list can still buy guns. People can buy enough guns and ammo to supply a full militia and no one will question it (NICS does not receive records of what guns, or how many, are being purchased). A paranoid schizophrenic or someone on an experimental antidepressant can buy a semiautomatic, because no one but their doctor will know their mental health status… that information is certainly not going anywhere, because of HIPAA. These are the laws we have chosen, and by accepting them we also fully accept the consequences as “worth it.”

  3. I am against retail stores being open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter Sunday.
    These are family holidays and retail workers deserve their time with their families. My son is an associate in one of the big box stores like Walmart and Target. Because of them, we are unable to go visit family on Thanksgiving Day. They live far away and we don’t often get to see them. My son has worked for this company for 14 years and it makes no difference! This is nothing more than corporate greed. Opening at 5 am on Black Friday should be enough! Whatever happened to family traditions?Jude

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