The Reincarnation of Scrooge

by Glenda on May 9, 2013

As an immigrant of forty years from Great Britain, my understanding was that Thanksgiving was a holiday where families got together to celebrate their combined gratitude of life’s blessings throughout the year. For instance, Uncle Charlie was not laid off when his company downsized. Brother Jose scored high on his SAT’s, so he has a good opportunity for placement in an excellent college. Mary Sue, unmarried, got pregnant, but as she and the boyfriend were head-over-heels in love, marriage was the best option.

Everyone was charged with excitement, making travel plans to meet at Mom’s house on Thanksgiving, happy to be together and share the day, despite the pockets of dysfunction that exist within every family.

I was accustomed to hearing about Black Friday, starting early the day following Thanksgiving. However, nobody could persuade me to participate in that jostling, sweaty experience. I was not, and never have been a shopper or a major consumer, but I have friends who salivate when hearing the word “sale.”

Black Friday reminded me of my time as a child inEnglandduring the annual January sales. My mother was addicted to sales because of our limited financial resources. She would drag me along to wait outside a large department store in readiness for someone to turn the key in the lock of the double doors facing the street, to allow a herd of people, resembling wilder beasts, to charge into the store and disperse in all directions. What a nightmare!

I then thought about Scrooge. It appears that he is alive and well. We are returning to the days when businesses, large and small, gloss over the needs of their employees in favor of making a few extra bucks during the holiday season. Yes, in 2012, that’s about the size of it. Employees are not permitted a day off to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. It’s likely, if they protest, they’ll be fired.

Where is theUnionwhen it’s needed? On strike, busy trying to persuade a company that makes non-nutritious sweets and processed snacks to increase salaries and benefits in an economy that, at this point, can’t afford to step it up. Thanks to theUnion, many employees of that company could lose their jobs if this company goes bankrupt.

Corporate greed is consuming the middle class. Do research on CEO salaries. It’s staggering how much money these people make – and I say make, rather than earn. If it weren’t for the workers in these companies, I don’t care how smart was the entrepreneur or boss in the company, if there are no workers to produce the ideas created by the ‘boss,’ the product is going nowhere. Meaning: no private jets, no fancy cars, no luxurious houses, NADA. In addition, of course, no tax breaks on these items!

I recently watched a program comparing various box stores. From what I learned, Costco employees are appreciated and compensated according to their contribution to the organization. On the other hand, for instance, Wal-Mart employees, well … let’s say … well, let’s not.

Growing up inEngland, I accepted and understood that stores were closed on holidays because employees, like the rest of us, have a right to spend time with their families. It would be great if American employers embraced the same philosophy.
(Originally published November 25, 2012)

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