Walmart has taken heat for violating some unwritten retail rule about not opening on Thanksgiving, but on Thursday it extended a benefit that many employees will find appealing.
Walmart has long offered employees a 10% discount on general merchandise, which is pretty hefty considering prices are already low. That discount is in place all year and then in December employees could also save 10% on food.
"This year, we’ve expanded the program by starting two weeks earlier," said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO. "In addition, many of our associates work tirelessly to execute our Black Friday event. This year, we’re providing an additional 10% discount on an entire basket of goods for those associates who are giving up a bit of their Thanksgiving holiday to better serve their customers."
That means the roughly 1.5 million employees who work in Walmart’s U.S. stores will be able to save 10% on food they purchase for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas dinner. And, if they qualify for the Black Friday discount, they will save 20% on a single basket of general merchandise.
Ever since Walmart said its Black Friday in-store activities would begin at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving the familiar litany of opposition forces have decried the move as greedy and anti-family. Target has faced similar criticism. Never mind all the other people who work Thanksgiving – police, healthcare workers, firefighters – retailers are forbidden from being opening on Thanksgiving? Considering it is the most important sales weekend of the year it makes you wonder why it never happened sooner.
What’s ironic is the move should help ease the crush of shoppers who descend upon stores on Black Friday, thereby improving working conditions and shopper safety. It also gives employees an opportunity to earn more money. Those are all good things, especially for Walmart employees and the population in general who would rather be doing just about anything other than spending time with their families. Throw in the additional savings on stuff employees were probably going to purchase anyway and working at Walmart during the holidays is starting to look like a pretty sweet gig.