This is disheartening, but not surprising. Advertising Age is reporting that it has an internal memo from McDonald's USA Chief Operating Officer Jim Johannesen, urging franchises to stay open on Christmas Day.
This past October, McDonald's reported that it had its first sales decline in nine years. Finding that unacceptable, the corporation sent out the memo on Nov. 8 telling its franchises, “Starting with the holidays, ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays.” It’s estimated that stores that were open on Thanksgiving Day averaged between $5,500 - $6,000 in sales. Those sales helped to increase November sales, and the company did not see a second straight month of losses.
If the same thing happens on Christmas, McDonald’s could again see a profitable month — and profits are what it’s all about.
Really, does this come as a surprise to anyone? Big businesses know that if they open their doors, people will come. That’s why so many people left family Thanksgiving celebrations early this year to get to the stores to start their Black Friday shopping at 6 p.m. on Thursday. If consumers stayed away, businesses wouldn’t open. To be outraged by the corporate greed of McDonald's because the company sees a way to make more money is understandable, but this isn’t just about corporate greed.
Our mentality as a nation is changing. We want convenience at all hours of the day, every day of the year. I think that’s really why I find this disheartening. We’re allowing this. It’s not just McDonald's. It’s all of us.
It has me thinking: how many people have to work on Christmas to provide me with the things I have or the things I do on that day? Obviously, there are people working for the utility companies on Christmas Day. What about the providers for my Internet who are there in case something goes wrong so I can make sure I can pop on Facebook to post a “Merry Christmas” status update to my friends?
How about the gas station attendant who’s working in case we forgot to gas up the car so we can drive to my sister-in-law’s? I’m sure I’ve popped into the liquor store a few blocks away on Christmas in the past to grab a last-minute bottle of wine. I remember one year, finding out that there would be children at Christmas dinner who I didn’t have gifts for. I popped into a Walgreens on the way to dinner to buy some little remembrances for them.
If I were outraged by the revelation that McDonald's has asked its stores to keep their doors open on Christmas, I’d be hypocritical. What I’m feeling right now is conflicted over the culture that I live in, that I contribute to, that expects convenience and embraces something like McDonald's being open on Christmas Day. We’ve become far too comfortable in allowing other people to be inconvenienced so that we can have our conveniences.
Related post on MNN: 5 life lessons learned while working at McDonald's