As the largest shopping center in the U.S., the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, certainly lives up to its name.
Boasting more than 520 stores — not to mention actual roller coasters! — the mall supports roughly 15,000 jobs.
This year, many of those 15,000 workers will have an extra bounce in their step when the holiday season arrives.
The Mall of America announced on Oct. 6, 2016, that it will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
While individual stores in the mall have the option to remain open, officials expect the vast majority to close up shop. That means thousands of Mall of America workers will have the day to sit back, relax, and enjoy some much-deserved time with loved ones (and a few helpings of sweet potato pie).
"We think Thanksgiving is a day for families and for people we care about," Jill Renslow, senior vice president of marketing at the mall, told The Associated Press. "We want to give this day back."
Renslow explained to the Star Tribune that mall executives had been discussing Thanksgiving hours for months but ultimately decided to give employees a rest from the holiday hustle and bustle. The Mall of America will reopen early Friday morning.
Most major retailers haven't announced their plans for Thanksgiving yet. But signs suggest the Mall of America won't be alone in giving workers that time off with their families.
In recent years, the pressure's been on giant retailers like Macy's and Target to compete for eager holiday shoppers. As a result, Black Friday sales have sneakily crept further and further into Thanksgiving Day.
That has meant more and more workers have been forced to work while their families are nestled around the dinner table.
"Once you miss Thanksgiving with the family, I can never be put back in those pictures if I'm not there and I'm at work," one employee said in a video by Change.org.
Fortunately, though, the tide seems to be turning back. With mounting outrage from labor groups and popular petitions demanding change — not to mention disgruntled husbands going viral over asking their wives be off the clock for the holiday — the pushback to save Thanksgiving has truly taken off.
This year, a handful of retailers have already confirmed they're keeping their doors locked on Nov. 24.
The odd thing is, staying open on Thanksgiving doesn't just hurt families — it's not really all that great for business either.
Instead of doubling the hype around holiday shopping, retailers have discovered that opening their doors on Thanksgiving actually does more to take away the excitement surrounding Black Friday than it does to double the revenue. What's more, with the rise of online shopping, displeased employees forced to work, and the many customers who don't want to support stores that are open on a family holiday, the cons have begun to outweigh the pros.
Sure, staying open on Thanksgiving may mean employees who work that day get more hours and make more money. After all, most workers forced into working retail jobs over the holidays are low-wage; many of them are just trying to make ends meet.
That's why if retailers truly care about their workers' well-being, they should do their part to make sure to pay them an actual living wage so that no one is stressed out over a slightly smaller paycheck.
To the folks at the Mall of America, an extra day off is nothing to fret over when it comes to their bottom line.
The mall still expects a mind-boggling 400,000 shoppers (give or take) to pass through its doors that last weekend in November.
"We’re confident we’ll still get those strong numbers throughout the Black Friday weekend,” Renslow told the Star Tribune.
If it benefits workers, doesn't hurt business, and helps keep one of America's most beloved holidays intact, what do stores have to lose?