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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Wednesday, 8:30 AM.  40 degrees F, wind W, light at present.  The sky is mostly overcast with high, thin gray clouds. There is a light fog over the channel and Madeline Island.  The barometer has inched upward.
    Life and business intervened yesterday and I did not get out to the deer stand.  The weather, as well, turned even more droopy, foggy and wet.  My intention is to get out this afternoon, weather permitting, as I may not get out at all on Thanksgiving Day.
    The world of Walmart is evidently in turmoil due to employee and union inspired protests, with some public support, against the retail chain’s policy of being open on Thanksgiving Day and then opening early Friday morning (or staying open all night) to welcome shoppers for the biggest retail sales day of the year, known as Black Friday, because the one day can put businesses in the “black” for the year. 
    The Ashland Walmart is probably too remote to attract much of that activity, although there is a prevalent undercurrent of anti-Walmart sentiment among the generally liberal populace.  Folks will say, “I hate Walmart,” and the next day you will see them there.  Humans are inherently hypocritical, but  truth be told, there aren’t many other places to shop up here in the boondocks.
    Employees protest that the policy keeps them from enjoying the holiday with their families and causes stress and disruption in their lives.  The whole matter has actually gone to court, Walmart seeking an injunction against the disruptive protesters. I would think courts would have more important matters to tend to.  If I were a judge I would let the two sides slug it, out labor-management style.
    Since I spent untold holidays and other inconvenient times at work in my lifetime, I am inclined to say that’s tough, if you don’t like it find a different job.  On the other hand, I  wouldn’t get up in the middle of the night to go shopping for any reason, and I think the whole idea, and thus the dispute, is silly and unnecessary.
    There is, however, a simple and equitable resolution to the problem which I have not heard being proposed. Let individual communities decide whether stores should be open on Thanksgiving and other holidays, or on Sundays or in the wee hours of the night, for that matter.  They have every right to institute what used to be called “blue laws.”  If the community in its wisdom and liberality wishes to support the store workers, let it close the stores.  That’s plural, of course, since the law would have to apply to all retail stores, not just Walmart.
    We all know that won’t happen, of course, so how about everyone admitting they like to shop at ridiculous and inconvenient times, and disgruntled workers getting on doing their jobs serving the shopping public. 
    And human nature being what it is, my bet is that if the Walmart workers had Thanksgiving Day or Thursday night off, they would likely be among the first in line to shop early somewhere else on Black Friday.

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