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Millennials, Corporate Social Responsibility and Thanksgiving

The millennial argument against Black Thursday

Black Thursday exists, or might soon exist due to further increased “sale” demands. Due to sales starting earlier and earlier each year, many Americans will work during the thanksgiving holiday rather than celebrating with family and friends. However, the group targeted most by these sales should not align with this idea. Millennials, those born between 1980-1999, who make up 80+ million of the US population, connect to socially responsible companies. Therein, there’s an argument that if companies were trying to be socially responsible, they would give their employees thanksgiving off.

First off, defines corporate social responsibility as, “A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates…” Therein, would a company be responsible to its social environment have empyees work during a holiday when instead they could be spending that time with their families? In another definition of CSR according to “Corporate Social Responsibility: a Theory of the Firm Perspective” by Williams and Siegel, some firms believe that CSR also includes “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law.” In this instance it might better the social good by giving workers a break. But, doing so would come at the expense of the business.

For instance, the firms interests should be taken into account. On one hand there’s increased profits from staying open another day and pleasing one group of customers. But, on the other, there’s the backlash from employees and another section of customers. There’s such controversy behind Thanksgiving shopping that The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “These Retailers Say No to Thanksgiving Madness” in which they specifically note the stores skipping out.

Therefore, Thanksgiving shopping poses a unique problem. With consumers and millennials focusing on social responsibility, but at the same time wanting deals, who will win? Overall, it depends on which side yells the loudest. But really, it’s up to the management of the company to decide: Which one counts more? Social Responsibility or sales?