Some stores in West Edmonton Mall were open on Christmas Day
A small number of stores in Canada’s biggest mall were open for five hours beginning at noon Saturday as merchants were preparing their stores for Sunday’s Boxing Day rush.
Ali Chovkair, a manger at the Coliseum, a men’s clothing store near the mall’s massive movie theatre, said opening for a few hours on Christmas was worth it since a number of attractions at WEM are always open during the stat holiday.
“Some customers hate to come here on Boxing Day because the mall is so busy,” said Chovkair as dozens of customers were seen sifting through his store.
Many items in the store were marked down by 50% and one winter coat in the store was valued around $30.
“For them, it’s a good idea to come here today because it’s so slow in the mall,” said Chovkair.
Stitches, another clothing store near the Ice Palace at the mall, was also open for business on Christmas for the entire afternoon.
It was the first time the business has ever been open on Christmas Day, said one employee who didn’t want to have her name published.
“We will definitely do it again,” she said while helping a customer. “We’re so busy we had to call in staff. We never expected to be this busy.”
Close to 70 customers were seen in the store sometime around 3:30 p.m. and some who were visiting the mall to watch a movie, or to go skating, were surprised to see some of the stores open.
Long lineups were also visible at both of the store’s tills.
“Seeing these stores open on Christmas Day is extremely odd,” said Donna Wendel who was able to find a deal after watching a movie Saturday.
Zelia Tavares, a resident from Kelowna, B.C. who is spending time with her Edmonton family at the Fantasyland Hotel, said she wasn’t surprised to now see stores open on Christmas Day.
“All of the stores would be definitely closed in Kelowna,” Tavares said. “It’s a good way for the employees to make some overtime. They are making a good amount of money.”
Yeah that must have been fun to have to work on Christmas Day. Yes there is overtime and yes other people have to work on Christmas but since when is retail an essential service. Well Safeway has been open on Christmas Day since 2004 in some parts of the United States although Walmart stays closed. For all of the grief that Walmart gets, good for them for staying closed.
My problem with opening on Christmas has nothing to do with the religious aspect of it. Stores have been open on Easter Sunday for years. It’s the lack of ANY day that a FAMILY can get together any longer. Saskatchewan has Family Day but it’s just a big shopping holiday as well and the result is that even more retail staff have to work. If you are open on Christmas, Easter, New Years, Thanksgiving, and every other holiday, when does it allow for any family life. I have worked for over 20 years in retail and I still don’t get off two days in a row.
Already I am not allowed to take holidays in December and this year is the first year that I have ever had Christmas Eve off of work. Without exception I have closed up the store on Christmas Eve and then had to come in on Boxing Day for store opening and never had any say in it because of seniority issues. Of course Zelia Tavares doesn’t mind the stores being open because she doesn’t have to work in them and is in Edmonton for a family holiday. It reminds me of the all of the Christians shopping on Sundays and then lecturing me for working in a place that opens on Sundays.
It’s a sad commentary that as a society, we can not stay away from the malls for even one day a year anymore. Yet governments and opposition parties don’t want to do anything about it because they don’t want to hurt business yet we ignore the impact it has on families. Retail workers work for wages that are barely above minimum wage, don’t get tips, and in many cases have unions that have collectively bargained away labour laws for more perks for senior staff. If there is an industry whose staff need to be protected from it’s employers, it is retail. There is no reason why stores can not be compelled to close on Christmas, Easter, Remembrance Day, Canada Day, and Thanksgiving Days each year. That still leaves 360 shopping days a year. More than enough to get the salad dressing that you can’t be without.