Labor Day Rant from a Retail Worker

I keep seeing these memes on Facebook about “thank a union for Labor Day” and the long weekend and all that. The older I get, the more annoyed I get with the whole thing. 
Well, guess what. That’s great for all you who don’t work in retail. I do. That means I have to be there so you can buy that folding chair you will sit in to watch the parade. I have to be at work so you can buy that charcoal and grill to cook the food with you just bought at the store I work at. And the way Walmart  my employer has restructured paid time off, I don’t even get any extra pay for having to be there. It’s just another day at work. Except it’s a holiday for everybody else. 
Labor Day used to be a day that celebrated all the people who labored in factories that made all the things that made America great. It was a day to recognize the hard work and long hours that people put in to support their families and produce things that kept the country moving and eating and clothed and whatever else we needed. It was a time of companies getting together and thanking the families of their workers for everything they did. Once upon a time, I was married to a man who worked in a unionized plant and Labor Day was a Really Big Deal. Stores even closed in recognition of the day. If you needed something, too bad. You should have planned ahead and people actually did that, back then. 
Now, it’s just another long weekend. If you asked folks what it’s all about today, you would probably get as many wrong answers as right ones, and it would probably depend on the age of the person you asked what answer you got. 
So think of us retail workers, at your beck and call while you enjoy your parade and barbecue and extra Monday off. If you were to say thank you for being at work, we might even give you an extra big smile for being recognized as the people who get all this stuff on the shelves so you can buy it today. Stuff that the union-organized workers made. Who got the day off. 
Or we might just grimace, say thank you, and ask is there anything else I can help you find today? 

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