As the holiday season approaches, I think back to my childhood and the times enjoyed with my family. We were lucky. My immigrant parents realized the American Dream, and on the fourth Thursday of every November we had much to be thankful for. Even if my dad sometimes wasn’t there because he had to work, we didn’t mind. As a doctor, he and his fellow health care professionals knew that sickness takes no holiday. Policemen and firemen, plumbers and 911 operators: all kinds of Americans know well the sacrifices and pride that comes with providing essential services.
But while the right to one’s health and safety may be inalienable, the right to shop is not. Yet Wal-Mart recently announced that it would open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day; Target and Toys R Us followed suit, with plans to open at 9 p.m. They are hardly alone. The Gap Stores (Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic) will be open Thanksgiving Day, as will Sears and Kmart. Shoppers may appreciate the extra hours, but what about all the people who will have to end their Thanksgiving meal, or forgo it altogether, in order to man the cashiers and stock the shelves?