Retail employees deserve a break too

Boxing Day in Canada is synonymous with mass crowds, good deals, and lots of shopping. But, just because one national holiday is all about shopping doesn’t mean every other holiday should be too.

Last month’s Family Day brought up the issue of whether stores in Toronto should be allowed to open on all statutory holidays except for Christmas. The city has decided that only stores directly downtown, because they are located in a tourist area, may open on holidays.

That is as far as this should go.

Holidays should be for everybody — this means retail workers too. It is not necessary to spend New Year’s Day or Canada Day buying a new shirt. The purpose of these days off is to celebrate the holiday, relax, and spend time with family and friends. By going shopping, we are creating a demand for stores to be open, and in turn, forcing retail workers to spend their holidays folding clothes and stocking shelves.

There will always be some stores that choose to open on a holiday. As long as people show up, there can be big money involved. However, employees should not be forced to work because they deserve a holiday just as much as every shopper coming through the door does. Only those employees who are willing to work should work.

There used to be a time when stores didn’t even open on Sundays. But, in today’s consumerist world, stores are open all the time; some are even open 24 hours a day, like many Shoppers Drug Mart stores. We have plenty of time to shop, so refraining for a few days of the year shouldn’t be a stretch.

So for the upcoming Good Friday holiday, whether you plan on celebrating or not, take a break from shopping and use the day off to sit back and relax.

Retail workers should be able to do the same.