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Author Topic: Opening on Thanksgiving  (Read 3570 times)
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TheFugitive
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« on: November 24, 2015, 11:15:57 AM »

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and nowadays more chains are open for at least part
of the day as are not.  Can't say that I am personally a fan of this, but that's how it is.

I recall being in on a conference call 23 years ago when a post-Chapter 11 Ames first floated the idea of being open on Thanksgiving to store management.  It was towards the end of a routine conference call of the sort they held with store management just about every week.  The last order of business unfolded thus:

"Oh, and by the way, one more thing.  We are thinking about being open on Thanksgiving this year.  What do you guys think about that?'

What followed was more than a minute of absolute, dead silence.  Absolutely NONE of us liked the idea.  But nobody wanted to commit career suicide by speaking out.

Finally a guy from up the road in Caro, Michigan who was known to be rather outspoken, broke the silence.

Well, G** Dammit, you've gotta draw the line SOMEWHERE!"

They thanked us for our participation and ended the call.

A few days later a handful of bigshots from Rocky Hill showed up in Caro, where that gentleman was pulled into a private meeting and told to cool it on the conference calls.

Long story short, we were open on Thanksgiving that year.

It was a VERY unpopular decision with our employees, many of whom were rural and small-town
homemakers who had been responsible for preparing the family Thanksgiving meal for many years.  We had fears of at least half of them no-showing (which, to my recollection did not occur because we were instructed to put the absolute fear of God into them about trying this).

I do recall that they were forced to back-down on plans to open stores in Massachusetts, where that is apparently in violation of state law.

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BillyGr
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 03:44:47 PM »

Yes, Massachusetts (and Rhode Island) have some laws about holiday openings and did have some other odd laws as well.

I seem to remember one of the ads (may have been Caldor) that would always list a few exceptions to openings for both those states for holidays and also I seem to remember Sunday as well (not that they weren't open, but that they didn't open until noon or so, where other locations would open at 9 or 10am).

Don't remember the exact rules for RI - but there is an annual parade in Woonsocket on Columbus Day where the line up used to be at a couple shopping areas as the stores weren't open (at least not in the morning, that may have been another only open at noon) - though the Caldor there did open the lobby as that was where the restrooms were so those lining up could use them.

Of course, there is still at least one place (Bergen County, NJ) where stores can't be open on Sundays (except for a few like food stores or gas stations).

Question though - while the employees were unhappy, did you ever hear anyone else (customers) complain?  That seems so common now, but it may just be the ease of such (internet options)?

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and nowadays more chains are open for at least part
of the day as are not.  Can't say that I am personally a fan of this, but that's how it is.

I recall being in on a conference call 23 years ago when a post-Chapter 11 Ames first floated the idea of being open on Thanksgiving to store management.  It was towards the end of a routine conference call of the sort they held with store management just about every week.  The last order of business unfolded thus:

"Oh, and by the way, one more thing.  We are thinking about being open on Thanksgiving this year.  What do you guys think about that?'

What followed was more than a minute of absolute, dead silence.  Absolutely NONE of us liked the idea.  But nobody wanted to commit career suicide by speaking out.

Finally a guy from up the road in Caro, Michigan who was known to be rather outspoken, broke the silence.

Well, G** Dammit, you've gotta draw the line SOMEWHERE!"

They thanked us for our participation and ended the call.

A few days later a handful of bigshots from Rocky Hill showed up in Caro, where that gentleman was pulled into a private meeting and told to cool it on the conference calls.

Long story short, we were open on Thanksgiving that year.

It was a VERY unpopular decision with our employees, many of whom were rural and small-town
homemakers who had been responsible for preparing the family Thanksgiving meal for many years.  We had fears of at least half of them no-showing (which, to my recollection did not occur because we were instructed to put the absolute fear of God into them about trying this).

I do recall that they were forced to back-down on plans to open stores in Massachusetts, where that is apparently in violation of state law.


« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 03:46:28 PM by BillyGr » Logged
ynkeesfn82
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2015, 07:22:01 AM »

The Stop & Shop I work for is open on Thanksgiving 6AM-2PM, but they're not forcing anyone to work. 2 weeks ago there was a sheet on the bulletin board where they post the schedule that said "If you want to work on Thanksgiving Sign Your Name Below."
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2015, 10:21:11 AM »

I don't recall any customer complaints, though I don't recall that day being particularly busy either.
I think almost no one expected us to be open so the customers who straggled in were the ones who
drove by and were surprised to find us open.  Very different situation today obviously. I think Kmart
had started opening on Thanksgiving the year before.

If there were complaints they were likely religious in nature.  Rural Michigan is much more like the Bible
Belt in that sense than many people realize.

I think if Ames had made working that day voluntary and offered time-and-a-half, things would have
gone much more smoothly from an HR standpoint.
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Ames303
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2015, 01:22:03 PM »

I don't recall any customer complaints, though I don't recall that day being particularly busy either.
I think almost no one expected us to be open so the customers who straggled in were the ones who
drove by and were surprised to find us open.  Very different situation today obviously. I think Kmart
had started opening on Thanksgiving the year before.

If there were complaints they were likely religious in nature.  Rural Michigan is much more like the Bible
Belt in that sense than many people realize.

I think if Ames had made working that day voluntary and offered time-and-a-half, things would have
gone much more smoothly from an HR standpoint.

I remember it being a big deal when after the Zayre acquisition Ames tried the 24-hours thing during the holiday shopping season like Zayre did.  One of the issues was that if you were at a legacy Ames store between 2 and 3 AM, you couldn't check out because the IBM 3683 registers couldn't handle the day turnover and ring up sales at the same time.  I believe the 4683s in old Zayre stores could handle it but I don't know that for sure.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2015, 09:56:29 AM »

Interesting.  My Ames store in Imlay City, Michigan (population around 3000 at the time)
did not stay open 24 hrs.  We closed at midnight (which was pointless enough as after 10
you only had a handful of people coming in to shoplift).

I suppose though that you are correct that the 3680 series POS terminals would have had
a problem with that.  I did the installs on the 4683's at a Zayre in Jacksonville, Florida.
It's been over 25 yrs. since I read the manual so unfortunately I can't recall if anything
in it addressed this topic.
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BillyGr
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 08:18:17 PM »

I remember it being a big deal when after the Zayre acquisition Ames tried the 24-hours thing during the holiday shopping season like Zayre did.  One of the issues was that if you were at a legacy Ames store between 2 and 3 AM, you couldn't check out because the IBM 3683 registers couldn't handle the day turnover and ring up sales at the same time.  I believe the 4683s in old Zayre stores could handle it but I don't know that for sure.

I know our Hannaford (supermarkets) had that same issue not that long ago (maybe 5-10 years tops) where the stores that were 24 Hours had a period of time when they couldn't check anyone out, but I think it was 15 minutes, maybe 1/2 hour at tops.  Not sure if they still do, or if they even have 24 hour stores anymore, as it seems many were converted to 6am-Midnight or similar.
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ynkeesfn82
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 08:50:12 PM »

When I worked at Price Chopper I was the overnight cashier 2 nights a week.  I would have to sign off my register, log onto another one enter some codes to run reports. It took a few minutes and had to be done between 2AM and 4AM.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2015, 09:25:51 AM »

Slightly off-topic....I did some Christmas shopping in a Sears the other night, which still had
a 4683 up and running.  The same register I installed factory-new in Jacksonville 26 years ago.

The cashier scanned my rewards card, and the product, and basically conducted the whole transaction
on an iPad.  My receipt and a fistful of coupons printed out on the 4683.

So.....the setup at Sears is apparently an iPad talking to a 26 year-old IBM register system.
From a technology standpoint I found that rather interesting.
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Ames303
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2015, 09:19:49 PM »

Slightly off-topic....I did some Christmas shopping in a Sears the other night, which still had
a 4683 up and running.  The same register I installed factory-new in Jacksonville 26 years ago.

The cashier scanned my rewards card, and the product, and basically conducted the whole transaction
on an iPad.  My receipt and a fistful of coupons printed out on the 4683.

So.....the setup at Sears is apparently an iPad talking to a 26 year-old IBM register system.
From a technology standpoint I found that rather interesting.

That's interesting because I didn't know Sears ever had the 4680 registers. I thought they went from NCRs to the custom built Compuadds before they went to IBM 4694s.

I remember a Sears kiosk having an old Singer Friden register from 1971 as late as 2001.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2016, 08:19:44 AM »

Apparently this trend is reversing due to public pressure.
Around 40 retailers have taken a pledge that they will NOT open
on Thanksgiving Day.

http://www.theindychannel.com/lifestyle/holiday/black-friday/dozens-of-retailers-pledge-to-be-closed-on-thanksgiving

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BillyGr
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2016, 01:33:32 PM »

Apparently this trend is reversing due to public pressure.
Around 40 retailers have taken a pledge that they will NOT open
on Thanksgiving Day.

http://www.theindychannel.com/lifestyle/holiday/black-friday/dozens-of-retailers-pledge-to-be-closed-on-thanksgiving

What's funny is that every time the topic comes up, there are always people on both sides - those who think no one should be open that day and those who point out that some people may either need to work (financially) or want to (someone without family or family not local).

Maybe one of these years some store(s) would actually try asking employees what they want to do, even if it meant that one location could be closed while the next town over is open if one store had more people interested in working that day.
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Brammy
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2016, 02:37:21 PM »

What's funny is that every time the topic comes up, there are always people on both sides - those who think no one should be open that day and those who point out that some people may either need to work (financially) or want to (someone without family or family not local).

Maybe one of these years some store(s) would actually try asking employees what they want to do, even if it meant that one location could be closed while the next town over is open if one store had more people interested in working that day.

At my Stop & Shop they have a sign up sheet to work the holidays. Problem is if not enough people volunteer to work you could end up working the holiday anyway.
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Brammy
TheFugitive
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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2016, 07:46:55 AM »

The issue with my Ames store was that virtually NO ONE wanted to work the holiday.
We were in a small town in Michigan.  Most of our employees were homemakers who were
responsible for preparing Thanksgiving dinner for large, extended families.

This was compounded by the fact that for some reason I could never figure out,
Michiganders eat Thanksgiving Dinner much, much earlier than we do on the East Coast.
(many served the turkey around lunchtime.....perhaps the fact that the Detroit Lions always
play the early game has some impact on that).

So essentially we had to threaten these ladies with loss of their jobs if they did not show up
for their assigned shift.  This created really horrendously bad PR in a town of 3000 people where
virtually everyone knows or is related to someone whose Thanksgiving has just been ruined.

My thought was to offer time-and-a-half and see if we could get enough volunteers to bite.
Of course no way corporate was going to agree to THAT.

They also ended up having to backpedal on opening in Massachusetts as apparently no
one in Rocky Hill realized that opening on Thanksgiving there was illegal.
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BillyGr
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2016, 11:15:33 AM »

What's funny is that every time the topic comes up, there are always people on both sides - those who think no one should be open that day and those who point out that some people may either need to work (financially) or want to (someone without family or family not local).

Maybe one of these years some store(s) would actually try asking employees what they want to do, even if it meant that one location could be closed while the next town over is open if one store had more people interested in working that day.

At my Stop & Shop they have a sign up sheet to work the holidays. Problem is if not enough people volunteer to work you could end up working the holiday anyway.

Which is why they need that additional step of being willing to have some stores closed if they can't get enough volunteers - or perhaps even in areas where they have several stores fairly close working it out so that people can shift locations for the day so that, say they could take willing employees from 3 or 4 stores and have enough to open 1 or 2 - with all this done a week or two ahead so that they could post at each location which one(s) are open and which are not, so customers know where to go if they need items that day.
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BillyGr
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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2016, 11:19:31 AM »

They also ended up having to backpedal on opening in Massachusetts as apparently no
one in Rocky Hill realized that opening on Thanksgiving there was illegal.

Surprising that they didn't know that - seems that rule applies to other states in the area and holidays as well (I remember the Columbus Day parade in Woonsocket, RI and we used to line up in the Caldor parking area as those stores either weren't open, or not allowed to open until later in the day for what was in comparison a much more minor holiday).
Although it was convenient for the event, both for the space it allowed and that someone from the store would come over and unlock the outer lobby, as that was where the store had public restrooms, for those needing to use one prior to the parade.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2016, 12:22:26 PM »

I'm not surprised that they didn't know.

Ames once shipped me a pallet of mechanical beverage can crushers.
Michigan has a ten cent deposit on every bottle and can.  Nobody crushes
cans up there.
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mvcg66b3r
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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2016, 08:17:38 AM »

They also ended up having to backpedal on opening in Massachusetts as apparently no
one in Rocky Hill realized that opening on Thanksgiving there was illegal.

Also in Maine and Rhode Island.

Apparently this trend is reversing due to public pressure.

Are other states (or even cities) considering similar laws?
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