It is not doubt that every single one of us love a good bargain. Why would you pay €50 for that Zara dress you’ve been eyeing up for the last month and a half when it’s going to go down to €19.99 on St Stephens day? However, if there’s one thing leaving cert accounting taught me, every debit has a credit.
Whilst a consumer gets to go in with their pals on St Stephens day (Boxing day for some), grab a couple bargains and go home to spend time having dinner at your granny’s house or seeing your cousins for the first time in ages or getting dolled up for the St Stephens day night out. someone is being deprived of day that used to be considered s given day off. Retail workers are amongst the most underpaid industries. They work long hours in the build up to Christmas. This is due to stores opening much earlier and closing later than they usually do in an effort to gain more consumer sales and even when the shop isn’t open, the workers are forced to stay are replenish the shop floor with more stock and clean up after the chaos the public have brought upon the store.
As DCU students or any other students who have exams after the Christmas break would know, Christmas is not the most happiest time of the year. You’re often working full time hours at Christmas if you have a part time job in retail or catering. You’re trying to squeeze in studying an extra chapter of a module before you start your 2-10 shift at work. One of the biggest challenges, aside from studying 12 weeks worth of module content for the 2 hour exam and working full time hours with the general public, is keeping the parents happy. Christmas Day, for most people, is the one and only day of the year most people have the day off from work to celebrate with family and friends, with the exception of the emergency services who don’t get the recognition they deserve either.
In fact, it’s not about recognising the fact retail employees have to work St Stephens day. Double pay per hour recognises that. It’s about just getting rid of it altogether. Doesn’t anyone remember when the January sales actually started IN JANUARY?
The governments have not put any legislation in place to put an outright ban on stores to not open on Boxing Day. It is up to us all, as consumers to boycott this 21st century tradition of shopping simply because the stores are open. Some mad retailer in the future will open their store on Christmas Day to get ahead of the game and then the rest will follow like sheep.
So ask yourself, before you text your mates asking do they want to go into town to do some bargain hunting on Boxing Day, ask yourself this: Do I want to fuel commercialism by spending my day off going into stores that are going to be super chaotic, fight my way to that Zara dress I wanted, stand in a queue for 20-30 minutes to pay for it just to say I got a bargain, all at the expense of these underpaid retail employees. If you do happen to go to the St Stephens sales, just look into the eyes of the poor girl behind the tills, who’s most likely still recovering from an entire month of long shifts and late nights, missing out on whatever St Stephens day plans her family has, and will have to cram her studies the night before the exam just so you could get that Zara dress for €30 cheaper and say THANK YOU to her. It is the least bit of respect and recognition she deserves.
Emergency services are required to work bank holidays such as Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and St Stephens day because in some cases, it’s a matter of life or death. Shopping is not a life or death situation. People can wait one extra day to fuel their purchasing habits.
By Paul Anderson