If I ask you how long Walmart had been open every Thanksgiving you might guess 20 years. Maybe even 25. But you’d be wrong.

Walmart has been open on Thanksgiving Day going back to the 1980's. Yes, even I was surprised by that. It seems like they were one of the first to be opening on Thanksgiving, long before people started complaining about corporate America's greed in making people stay away from their families on such a holiday.

This year that all changes.

It was quietly announced that Walmart will be closed for the first time in many decades on Thanksgiving this year. The reason?

The novel coronavirus pandemic. According to Fortune, it is to thank their employees for sticking it out and working through the pandemic. When most people think of essential jobs during COVID-19, they think of police and doctors and firefighters and nurses. But where would we have been without the ability to get food or essential items? So these essential employees get to spend Thanksgiving day with their families this year.

A corporation showing appreciation in this way is bound to be noticed. With the history of so many other retailers being open across the country on the holiday, is this going to put a lot of pressure on those companies to now do the same? Or will the devastating economic pain felt across corporate America mean that they will stick with the same game plan they have for the past several years and be open on Thanksgiving to try and recoup some of the losses?

Being open on Thanksgiving Day is something I think most American consumers and retail workers have gotten used to. If there were no demand they wouldn't offer the supply. This year might be different though. With COVID-19 still spiraling out of control across the nation (at least at this point), by November there could be real resentment if a lot of other retailers don't follow Walmart's lead. It may not be regarded as just a cold corporate dollars and cents issue this year, but a real slap in the face to people who went to work wearing masks under scary conditions. To keep them from family on this day, this particular year, when many of those families have no doubt lost a member to the virus, may be a bad public relations move for corporate America.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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