|Costco gets a pass from me. Though their decorations were for sale in August, they were among the few big box stores to|
buck the trend and remain closed for Thanksgiving.
But this year, everybody is rightly riled about the expansion of Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day.
What began as a trickle of stores last year is now a flood; retailers all over the place began their holiday sales Thursday night this week, some as early as 6 PM. This bothers more than 60% of the population, according to a poll I read, but it doesn't stop the rest of the country from camping out all day on Thanksgiving to get those Big Deals. This bothers me as much as the next guy, as the biggest offenders here are the big box stores which pay their workers minimum wage; these employees live on the edge of poverty and cannot afford to refuse to work, even on the holiday. And because these stores stayed open over 24 hours, you can bet absolutely everybody on the payroll was working at one time or another.
Amid the outcry regarding this atrocity, I have heard nary a peep about the other workers who have always worked Thanksgiving. I waited tables 13 solid years in Los Angeles, and I worked each and every one of those Thanksgivings.
I worked every one of those New Year's Eves too, as well as many Christmas Eves, New Year's Days, and even a few Christmas Days, not to mention every Easter and quite a few Fourths of July. But here's the difference: though I did not have much of a choice to work these holidays, I was at least rewarded with a bump in income. Patrons who chose to go out to eat for Thanksgiving and other hols were in generous moods, ordering liberally and tipping accordingly. So, the waiter's income did indeed go up during those shifts.
The brouhaha regarding workers being forced to work on Thanksgiving brought up lots and lots of memories of my time as a waiter. I loved the work, as it was fast-paced, stimulating to the mind, and best of all, when you left the restaurant at the end of the shift, you had money in your hand. There was something quite satisfying about working your tail off all night, and leaving with the immediate results of all that labor.
This week's Dance Party comes from Working, a musical which has a bit of a cult following these days. It was not a success in New York in 1978, and the creators have tinkered with it incessantly ever since.
|This PBS adaptation is available on DVD.|
Actors love it, as the musical numbers are all little monologues (very few group numbers), and always accompany spoken speeches as well. So despite its failure in New York, the show has had a lively life on college and high school stages.
|Eileen Brennan as the Millworker in Working.|
|This week's star informs us that "It's An Art," and I agree. Waiting tables is exhausting work, both physically and mentally, but if my body could still do it, I'd still do it.|