We need utility service, public safety, health care staffing and even news and information, fuel, travel and last-minute dinner ingredients.
There are types of entertainment we now consider part of our Thanksgiving holiday traditions, like sports, movies and night life.
Recognizing that a full third of the year's retail sales are tied directly to thee holiday shopping period, I can appreciate the need to wring out as much profit as possible during that period.
BUT, Thanksgiving worked well as a marketing day for decades, and turning it into a half sales day is a slippery slope.
In less than ten years we have gone from 4 a.m. or 6 a.m. openings to Midnight Black Friday sales. We now are rolling back to pre-Black Friday, Thanksgiving night door busters.
Soon this could be bumping up against the late NFL game, then the early game, then competing with dinner prep and by the time today's toddlers celebrate Thanksgiving as young parents with their families, the holiday meal will be a brunch.
The Thanksgiving holiday marks the beginning of a very busy time for service workers who will open early close late and restock shelves and mark down prices incessantly through mid-January.
Snatching up, for many what will be their final day off for nearly two months is just plain insensitive. This is not last minute dinner prep, public safety, health care staffing, broadcasting, travel or hospitality. This is a mixed bag of locked and open doors at malls, town centers, and shopping strips.
We have options, and I admit I may make a purchase or two on line sometime Thanksgiving Day. With automated order taking and offshore call centers, there are ways to move merchandise that do not involve Americans in great numbers giving up Thanksgiving and acting cheerful about it.
But for families that depend and need retail income, I do hope adding this extra Thanksgiving night shift (stores open at 6 p.m., staff needs to be there by 4:30), is not another sign of a disturbing trend.
Retailing is changing, the shopping experience and the way goods actually get to the gift giver are rapidly evolving and we could see big box stores go the way of Blockbuster Video or Photomat.
As traditional storefront operators fight for ways to maintain their market shares, they will sacrifice the family time of their staffs. For increasingly limited gains the pressures to man the sales floors and monitor the self service checkouts will continue to grow.
This could eventually come down to choices and trade-offs for some desperate last minute push to fill out schedules during the predawn hours of Christmas Day.