The president of Walmart defended his company’s decision to open its stores on Thanksgiving, a move that deprived thousands of employees of their chance to spend this traditionally restful holiday with family and friends.
The executive, Bill Simon, told “The Today Show’s” Willie Geist on Friday that his employees are “used to” working on Thanksgiving. He also said — in the interview that you can watch, above — that he detected no dissension among any employees in the Walmart stores he visited personally on Thanksgiving Day.
While Walmart stores and hundreds of stores in other chains were filled with shoppers seeking to take advantage of pre-Black Friday sales, some critics say the Thanksgiving openings were unseemly. Their criticism was aimed partly at the shopping frenzy that took place on a holiday that has traditionally been a national day of thanks (and store closings), and also at the plight of thousands of people (if not millions) who were required to go to work that day.
Conversely, store chains such as Costco and Nordstrom’s were widely praised for making the decision to stay closed on the holiday, precisely for the sake of their employees, who then got to enjoy their holiday at home.