Monday, December 1, 2014

Debunkery - The Working Stiff Edition

While taking a Thanksgiving stroll through Facebook last week, I came upon another wiseass meme that was just begging for a good debunking.  Here it is:

Just to warm up, let me pick a small nit here… No one is losing their mind because retail workers are working on Black Friday, like it says in the bottom section of the graphic.  That’s why it is known as Black Friday… a day for when retailers supposedly go into the black for the year.  Retailers.  That means salespeople and clerks work there on this day.  Always have, always will.  There is no pushback regarding working on Black Friday, nor should there be.  I suspect it was included here merely to give the overall assertion more weight.

Now, Thanksgiving Day is another story.  And here’s where this meme completely falls apart.  It’s really just the fallacy of false equivocation.  It is assuming that both groups of people are worthy of comparison.  In other words, EMTs, nurses, firefighters, cops and soldiers perform similar functions as retail workers.  Which is, of course, completely absurd.

There is no comparison there, for one very simple reason.  The jobs of EMTs, nurses, etc., are in a realm where the need for them does not disappear during a holiday.  There will always be medical emergencies on holidays, just like there will always be fires, dangers to public safety, and military activities.  Hence, those working in these professions are called on to work on holidays like Thanksgiving.

Retail workers, on the other hand, are there to sell you stuff and make money for ownership and management, and performing these duties on holidays is 100% elective, on the part of said ownership and management.  No one NEEDS to go out bargain hunting on Thanksgiving.  No one. 

Up until last year or two, no one ever questioned this, and retailers still made money hand over fist, through Black Friday and subsequent sales, and the (predominantly) minimum wage workers got to celebrate the holiday with their families.

So as you can see, there is insufficient common ground between these two groups of jobs, to substantiate such a snarky and empathy-free statement.  I can pretty much guarantee you that the person who wrote it did not have to go to work on Thanksgiving.

To summarize, EMTs, nurses, firefighters, police and soldiers are an integral part of ensuring the continued function of a free country.  They work holidays because society needs them to.  Retail clerks, while important, work on Thanksgiving so you can buy discounted electronics a day earlier than you used to. 

It is a logical fallacy to use one group as means to criticize a completely dissimilar group.  Therefore, this meme is bullshit.

Ladies and gentlemen, please think before you share such dimwitted commentary.  You may now return to your regularly scheduled cat videos.


Facie said...

Yep. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. I am afraid in a couple more years, we won't remember a time when no one shopped on Tgiving, which was just a couple of years ago.

bluzdude said...

The only way it stops is if it becomes unprofitable. And it might, because what I'm hearing is that people aren't spending more money on the extra day, they're taking it off what they would have bought on Friday or the weekend.

Or, more and more people (like me) can refuse to shop on Thanksgiving. (Granted, I don't shop on Black Friday either, at least not in person.)

injaynesworld said...

Couldn't agree more. The meme is definitely bullshit. Good call, my friend.