The Irony of Labor Day

Labor day has been observed in this country since 1882 “originating from a desire by the Central Labor Union to create a day off for the ‘working man’.”Boy have we gotten far away from that original intent. Don’t get me wrong, most people DO get labor day off, but it’s typically not the people who could use the day off! I’m talking specifically about retail and food service; the industries which require long hours of tiring, ‘on-your-feet’ work. Yes, Labor day has now become the day where those of us who sit in offices in cushy chairs take the day off of work to go find the wicked Labor day sales. Some people even start their Christmas shopping on this dreadful weekend.

I really blame the retail higher-ups themselves for this. Their year over year push to make the holiday buying season start earlier, and drive up 3rd and 4th quarter sales has increased pressure to sell more stuff faster and earlier. These guys never take a break.

I think that’s why I could never be happy in sales. You have to be ready at any moment of the day to close the deal. There is no time off. You have to make yourself constantly available, or you will lose money. And with our impatient, need-it-now culture, people don’t just wait until Monday like they used to.

It makes me respect retail and restaurant businesses who do set better work-life balance schedules. I was reading a placard outside a Chick-fil-a store about why they are closed on Sunday, and their primary reason was, “we were just tired, and needed a day off.” I say, good for them! The world will not starve if Chick-fil-a stays closed one day a week.

In fact, maybe it would be interesting to see what would happen to the obesity epidemic in this country if all restaurants closed one day a week and forced their consistent patronage to actually make a meal in their own homes for once!

Oops. I have diverged from my original post. Last point: while I am clearly pointing out this injustice, I don’t work in retail or food service, and I don’t hear any retail or food service making a big stink about working on these days. Maybe this isn’t an issue then. Maybe we CAN have our cake and eat it too. Somehow these employers are doing right by the workers.

Happy Labor Day! Go join a union or something…

One thought on “The Irony of Labor Day”

  1. I am so glad you have turned this into a blog. I really hope you write on it all the time, because I really really enjoy reading things you write. I think you are so clever!



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