SIMON Property Group, INC.: Don't force mall employees to miss Christmas Eve by requiring stores to stay open until 8 p.m. Change the closing back to 6 p.m. December 24th.
This petition had 1,226 supporters
“Last year we had the longest holiday sales season possible with 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas... this year there are only 25 days.”
Thus began the letter which destroyed my family’s Christmas Eve. I work at the Albertville Premium Outlets, an hour northwest of Minneapolis. I am familiar with the hustle of holiday shopping each year, and though I do not like it, I understand why retailers would want to offer early hours for Black Friday. However, I have never heard of extending shopping time into Christmas Eve.
SIMON Properties, which manages 66 Premium Outlets locations, from Kittery, Maine to Waipahu, Hawai’i and Albertville, Minnesota, is forcing its retailers to remain open until 8 p.m. Christmas Eve, not 6 p.m. as originally promised. The change did not apply to SIMON’s non-outlet locations, which will still remain open until 6 p.m.They informed their retailers in a letter on September 24:
“As a whole we are trying to be available when our shopper is looking for our merchandise-- so we are pulling out all the stops for a successful holiday shopping season! Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”
As a retailer and a daughter, I cherish the excitement of both Christmas shopping and Christmas Eve night. The former closing time of 6 p.m. felt like a fair enough compromise. However, forcing stores to remain open until 8 p.m. is exploitative for the following reasons:
Being open until 8 will interfere with attending Christmas Eve services. Christmas Eve, for many, is a religious holiday. Even for non-Christians, Christmas Eve is a special night to visit friends and family they do not see but once a year.
It will interfere with Christmas Eve traditions unique to each family, like drinking cocoa, reading The Night Before Christmas and setting out cookies for Santa. For many, gift-giving happens on Christmas Eve night. Hundreds of outlet employees and managers have families with small children. If made to work until 8 p.m., they will miss out on tucking their little ones in to sleep before Santa arrives. Oddly enough, SIMON’s outlet malls will be open until just 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, a night more often spent drinking champagne or sitting in front of a television than making meaningful memories with family.
If a shopper absolutely must purchase a gift that late, they are not going to an outlet mall. They will be going online to print out gift vouchers or setting a future date to take somebody out to lunch.
Any sales lost due to a shorter holiday shopping season will not magically be made up in the two extra hours. Chances are shoppers will already be occupied spending Christmas Eve with family. A possible “make up” in sales is not going to happen and does not justify cutting into a traditional Christmas Eve.
And the worst part? SIMON Premium Outlets’ store managers and employees were allowed no consideration, input or control over this change. Managers were given some control over their Black Friday hours, with options between 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night, 9 p.m. or midnight to open. The Christmas Eve hours were chosen as final and mandatory by SIMON Properties, without prior input or agreement made by their store managers. This change applied exclusively to SIMON’s 66 outlet locations. Miller Hill Mall, Southdale Mall and Maplewood Mall, SIMON’s three non-outlet locations in Minnesota, will close at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Before even writing this petition, we have heard from several shoppers disgusted with this change. Many have pledged not to do any shopping at SIMON Premium Outlet locations, saying “I know you won’t find me in any of these stores!” (via a response to a news report on the extended hours).
Please sign our petition! We were not given a voice in our Christmas Eve, but we need SIMON Properties to know they cannot get away with taking advantage of their workers or of Christmas Eve. Let SIMON Properties know that everyone deserves a holiday-- shoppers and workers alike!
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