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Kmart To Employee: ‘If You Do Not Come To Work On Thanksgiving, You Will Automatically Be Fired’

Kmart Thanksgiving


Kmart will open its doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day this year and remain open for 42 hours, meaning that many employees will have to come to work to staff shifts. While the company says it tries to fill the slots with volunteers or seasonal hires, workers are reporting that the reality on the ground is very different.

Jillian Fisher, who started a petition on asking Kmart to give her mother and other employees the flexibility to take the holiday off, surveyed 56 self-identified employees from more than 13 states. Of those, just three said they had the option to ask to take the holiday off. In a press release from the petition organizer, one employee said human resources has told them, “if you do not come to work on Thanksgiving, you will automatically be fired… I made the request to work a split shift on Thanksgiving and was denied.” Another said, “Our manager stated at a staff meeting: ‘Everyone must work Thanksgiving and Black Friday. No time off.’” At one location, an employee says signs have been posted in the break room saying workers can’t request time off on Thanksgiving or Black Friday and that everyone has to put in at least some time on both, while at another signs have been posted saying no one can request time off between November 15 and January 1.

“I am a lead at a Kmart and it is mandatory for me to work on Thanksgiving,” another employee said. “If I were to call out I would be terminated, and requesting off is not allowed.”

Only seven surveyed employees said their stores had given employees the chance to volunteer for a holiday shift. “[A]t my store, they scheduled workers who aren’t seasonal and who DIDN’T volunteer to work on Thanksgiving,” one said. Another said, “I didn’t volunteer to work on either of these days they just pretty much scheduled me regardless if I had plans or not on Thanksgiving.”

And most workers have no idea whether they’re going to be asked to give up some of their Thanksgiving dinner to come to work, even with the holiday a week away. Forty-three percent of the surveyed employees said they still don’t know their schedules for Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Fisher says that her mother has sometimes found out her schedule as little as a day ahead of time.

They may be in for a rude surprise: of those who know their schedules, all but two have to work on Thanksgiving, while about three-quarters also have to come in the next day.

In response to questions about the survey results, a company spokesperson said in a statement, “Again, we reiterate that our stores do their very best to staff with seasonal associates and those who volunteer to work holidays. Seasonal associates are told upon hire of our holiday store hours and we make every effort to accommodate associate shift requests during this time. Associate schedules are posted, on average, two weeks in advance – including for holiday schedules. All associates are compensated time and a half pay for the hours they work on Thanksgiving Day. We continue to express deep appreciation in advance to all associates who will be working Thanksgiving and Black Friday.”

Kmart employees aren’t alone in being asked to come to work on the holiday. Twelve retail chains will be open, requiring millions of people to leave home. Erratic and last-minute schedules are rampant in the industry, so others may also be in limbo waiting to find out whether they will miss out on time with friends and family. And no American is guaranteed a paid holiday off, so many others may find they aren’t able to request the time off.

Some stores, on the other hand, are deciding to just stay closed and let employees be at home to celebrate: 17 have announced they will not open on Thanksgiving. Many say it’s to allow their workers to take a break and be with loved ones.

Fisher will keep the momentum going in the pushback against Kmart. “I plan to continue to fight not just for my mother, but for every family that has had to choose between spending time together and working longer hours,” she said. “We are simply asking Kmart to display more effort when it comes to allowing employees to request off or volunteer to work on Thanksgiving.”


This story has been updated with a new statement from Kmart.


Kmart workers shared the following photos of signs posted in their workplaces saying that employees can’t take days off during the holidays:




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10 Ways to Take Revenge On Employers that Make You Work on Thanksgiving

In dishonor of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, K-Mart (it’s like Wal-Mart, but even more depressing), Sears, Bass Pro Shops, Dick Sporting Goods, The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Staples, Office Depot, Michaels, Big Lots, Kohls, JC Penney and Toys R Us staying open on Thanksgiving we decided to run a truncated theme for the first three days of Thanksgiving week: Crappy Holidays.  And, seriously, Staples and Office Depot?  Who in the F is buying office supplies on Thanksgiving?  “Oh no, honey, I forgot to buy enough butter for the mash potatoes!  Quick, run to Office Depot and get an ink cartridge so I can type and print an apology note to our relatives!”

So, for those of you that are forced to work on Thanksgiving by one of these fine retailers, here are some creative (or not-so-creative) ways to get even with your heartless corporate machine of an employer.

Don't Flush Your Dumps

10. Don’t Flush Your Dumps: Because any customer using a retailer’s public restroom to take a dump on Thanksgiving deserves to walk into a big smelly surprise

Don't Flush Your Dumps

9. Don’t wash your hands after taking said dump: And then immediately walk up to customers and shake their hand. “Sir, on behalf of Walmart, I’d like to thank you for using our store on this uniquely American holiday, forcing me to work instead of spending time with my family. Also, you should know that your hand is now infected with my butt.”


Don't Flush Your Dumps

8. Softcore Porn on the Display TVs: Hey, Best Buy, consider this your going out of business present! And why softcore and not hardcore? Because, while offensive, some people might enjoy the hardcore stuff, but nobody enjoys softcore, Cinemax stuff.


Don't Flush Your Dumps

7. If someone says “happy thanksgiving” reply dryly with, “I’m Native American, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to celebrate the only time you guys were kind of nice to us over the last 500+ years.”


Don't Flush Your Dumps6. Hide all the PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones before the black friday customers come in. In your face, Gamers!


Don't Flush Your Dumps

5. If you are stationed at a checkout counter, do not cover your mouth when coughing.


Don't Flush Your Dumps

4. If your store is in a liberal leaning city, get on the intercom and start ranting about how it’s that Kenyan Obama’s fault for making Americans work on Thanksgiving.


Don't Flush Your Dumps

3. If you are in a conservative leaning city, get on the intercom and explain to the customers that your employer is ran by a group of communists from China, the former USSR and Cuba who force their employees to work on uniquely American holidays, such as the 4th of July and Thanksgiving.


Don't Flush Your Dumps

2. Prank Call your Boss: Why should you have to work on a holiday while your boss gets to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving dinner with his family? I suggest you shoot him a call on his house phone and tell him the store has been robbed or that his teenage daughter is pregnant.


Don't Flush Your Dumps

1. Slowly walk up to a customer’s young child, look the child dead in the eye and say, “Santa isn’t real. It’s just your parents buying stuff from stores like this and writing “Santa” on the card. Also, it’s just your fat mom who eats the cookies and drinks the milk that you thought Santa was taking down.”


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20 Stores That Refuse to Open on Thanksgiving



In recent years, the Black Friday craze has inched further and further into Thanksgiving. With stores opening as early as 5 p.m. on Thursday, festive dinners are being overshadowed by shopping frenzies. Retailers like to point the blame at consumers—in a survey last year, 38 percent of shoppers said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving—but opening a day early also runs the risk of cannibalizing sales that could have been made on Friday. Furthermore, with stores open the day before, the idea of going shopping in the middle of the night for already picked-over merchandise seems unnecessary.

But there are still stores that allow workers to stay home and enjoy the holiday. Here are some of the bigger retailers that will be closed on Thanksgiving.

1. DSW

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DSW issued a statement on their Facebook page explaining that they believe family comes first. As a result, they are closed for Thanksgiving, and not opening until 7 a.m. on Friday.


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The warehouse club has always had a reputation for being good to their employees. This Thanksgiving, the nearly 127,000 Costco employees will have the opportunity to spend the holiday with their families.


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Last year, the retailer distributed flyers that explained, “We won’t be decking our halls until Friday, November 29. Why? We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.” They’re continuing that tradition this year as well.


A Dillard’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress, “We choose to remain closed on Thanksgiving in longstanding tradition of honoring of our customers’ and associates’ time with family.”

5. BJ’S

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BJ’s Wholesale Club has confirmed they will be closed Thanksgiving. Last year, their CEO told HuffPost, “maybe call me old-fashioned, but I feel that it’s an easy decision to make [to stay closed on Thanksgiving].”


The retailer made a point of staying closed last year, as well.

7. REI

REI confirmed with ThinkProgress that they will be staying closed this year.


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“Out of respect to our Team Members and their families, Jo-Ann stores will not be open Thanksgiving Day,” explained Travis Smith, chief executive officer and president of Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. “We ask a lot from our Team Members during the holidays, and Thanksgiving Day is a valued tradition for many families. We believe it is important for our Team Members to be able to spend this time with their loved ones.”

11. T.J. MAXX

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“We feel so strongly about our employees spending Thanksgiving with their families,” says spokeswoman Doreen Thompson. “And we don’t anticipate this changing in the future.”


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Marshalls, like T.J. Maxx, is owned by TJX and will therefore also be closed.


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Pier 1 traditionally decides to stay closed for Thanksgiving.


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The Facebook page Boycott Black Friday confirms that Sierra Trading Post will closed for the holiday.


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Their website gives the following reason for staying closed: “We will be closed Thanksgiving Day, November 27 so that our booksellers can be with their family and friends. ”


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RadioShack is open for all holidays, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They did once experiment with being open Thanksgiving, but decided their customers preferred Black Friday.


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Sam’s Club is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.


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Home Depot stays closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.


When asked why, a spokesperson responded “It’s a holiday—we’re closed!”

October 30, 2014 – 10:00pm


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