November 27th, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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Jamie Ordonez is one of the lucky retail employees who will enjoy Thanksgiving Day without having to rush to work. But a brother-in-law who works at Medieval Times isn't as lucky.

The Lyndhurst, New Jersey, castle is open for a 5 p.m. show on Thanksgiving Day, which means Ordonez's family is eating dinner around noon to accommodate his schedule. And, it's not the only Thanksgiving Day joust on the calendar; shows are scheduled in all nine Medieval Times castles in North America, with most offering discounted tickets.

"He enjoys his job, and he knows working nights and weekends and some holidays is a part of it," said Ordonez, a 30-year-old resident of Belleville, New Jersey. "But it affects his family, too, and it's not fair to us, either."

It's the same sentiment behind a handful of petitions, Facebook groups and social media gripes about people being called in to work on Thanksgiving - not only in retail but in the service industry and entertainment.

Read - Who wants to work on Thanksgiving?

Previously:
Please don't blame the waiter
How much should you tip for food delivery?
Tipping point – family locked in restaurant for skimping on mandatory gratuity
Visitors to the U.S. – avoid these tipping pitfalls
Give a snarky quip (and no tip) and thy receipt shall end up on the internet

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Filed under: Human Rights • Restaurants • Service • Thanksgiving


soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. avon store

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    January 1, 2014 at 10:59 am |
  2. UnitedWeAre

    It's not just restaurant guys, it's also the airline industry. Hospitals, hotels. Supermarkets. It's only the governed funded jobs thT get the whole day off. It's not fair but it happens. I called out this year tho, I was picked to host thanksgiving a year ago. So I tried switching and no one wanted to work that day so oh well. I have stuff to do. Too bad!

    November 29, 2013 at 2:22 am |
  3. Mel

    People should tip VERY well. Actually internalize a little bit of that feel good Hallmark TV nonsense and live it. I was alone this year, plus traveling so unable to cook anyway, so I ate out. I tipped my server 100% (my meal wasn't that much, so it was 10 bucks). But I talked to my server for a while and asked her how her tips were going, and she said that for the most part people were still leaving a "dollar or two here and there". If you leave 2 dollars or less for ANY meal, even as a single person (and I know where I was, the hostess stand wasn't calling out ANY parties of one besides myself), you shouldn't be allowed to even come into a restaurant. Do people have any idea that servers make a little over TWO DOLLARS AN HOUR until you tip them? Or what it's like to deal with people "forgetting" to ask for things only to make them make multiple runs back to their table as they dawdle around, then at the end after wasting their time the customers expect them to chop chop because THEY'RE suddenly in a hurry to get the check and leave? Often either subconsciously or consciously trying to set up the server to fail, all so they can justify stiffing them for "poor service"? It's not a fun job. But I guarantee you if every server in every crowded restaurant today was making at least 10 bucks each table, they'd have a much better tomorrow.

    November 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  4. Timothy

    If, like in my country, your servers were paid a living wage, and it doubled on public holidays, your owners would not be able to gamble the time of your servers. People deserve the dignity of a wage. Tipping is beggary and paying your staff should just be a cost of business, like power.

    November 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  5. Gigi

    If you don't want to work on holidays you shouldn't be in the restaurant industry. I worked as a server for many years and while it was depressing working when everyone else was spending time with family, that's life. Once I got tired of not having nights and weekends free like most everyone else I knew, I got a different kind of job. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    November 28, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  6. Thinking things through

    "Yes, but people should tip extra well" - but with a proviso. I expect that the chains will be open, for those people caught in travel situations, which happens advertantly or inadvertantly. For other restaurants, I think it should be a decision between management and staff whether to be open, or not. I remember as a child one of our best Thanksgiving dinners was dining out at a Chinese restaurant (and a lot of other best T-day dinners were dining in at home or at a relative's, with the "servers" there as a part of the household ambiance).

    November 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  7. ∞ Weeds ∞

    My favorite server is working on Thanksgiving and I'm doing all I can to help by chopping and pot wallopin and setting the table. :) I've even made a dish or 2 of my own to serve, cranberry sauce for instance. My Texas wife never had cranberry sauce growing up. I still have trouble wrapping my head around that one. Strange place, that Texas.

    November 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  8. Danyale

    In a perfect world. Unfortunately, restaurants use Holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas as their hopeful "money days" and usually schedule more than half of the staff to work on one of those days or another. From experience, I can say some patrons, mostly regulars, come and eat but more often then not, servers leave work that night after all of the Holiday festivities have ended and most of the time making much less than the managers promised. That server life is tough!

    November 27, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  9. Danyale

    Restaurants should be open on Thanksgiving for those customers who don't have a family to visit this year or at all. I think that servers who want to work on Thanksgiving should and those of them who don't should have the day off. Restaurants should prepare their guests for possibly long wait times and when someone complains because someone will, the manager will simply explain that the restaurant supports their servers and some of them have gone home for the Holidays...

    November 27, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      This

      November 27, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Mel

      Makes perfect sense to me. I've been saying for years that there are plenty of people who are bummed out because they CAN'T work on the holidays, due to being alone. For those people, being able to go to work, especially in a lively restaurant or store, would be far less depressing than sitting home alone with nothing but the images of the "perfect family" plastered all over every TV station. Those are the people who make up the high suicide rates on the holidays – how much better would it be if they could be with people at work instead? But it should be a decision, as you said. People with families will miss priceless intangible moments that we used to value over money.

      November 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
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