This year, many retail giants, such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Sears, elected to open their doors Thanksgiving Day, beckoning shoppers in to take advantage of deals traditionally reserved for the day after the holiday.
Upset that workers were pulled from their homes on a day traditionally reserved for family, the decision has caused a backlash of petitions and protests amongst employees and consumers alike,
"There's only a couple of days a year when people slow down and spend time with their family and Thanksgiving is one of them," said 38-year-old Matt Hively, of Marietta.
JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times
Marietta Firefighters, from left, Bob Davison, Lt. Larry Bargeloh, Dave Lennington and Matt Hively, enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with their “second family” while on duty Thursday.
However, as a firefighter for the Marietta Fire Department, holidays on the clock are something Hively and many other service personnel have been dealing with for years.
"We understand that this is a service that continues through the holidays," said Hively.
But the expectations are different for essential service personnel and retail employees, said Patrolman Katie Warden of the Marietta Police Department.
"I think it is different when it is safety services," said Warden.
Added Lt. Brian Rhodes of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, "I think working holidays is something we all pretty well knew it came with the territory."
In contrast, retail employees typically expected to spend Thanksgiving home, eating turkey and relaxing with family.
"You can see the retail world taking over this holiday," said patrolman Rhett Walters of the MPD.
Paul Shaner, an operator for the Marietta City Water Treatment Plant, also worked through Thanksgiving. However, he also thinks that pushing Black Friday shopping into the holiday is taking it too far.
"I don't agree with it. I think people should be able to be off and be with their families," he said.
Shaner planned on having dinner with his family after he got off work at 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
Rescheduling the traditional family functions is one of the many ways to ease the stress of working through a holiday.
"Our family will have Thanksgiving (Friday)," said Lt. Larry Bargeloh of the fire department.
In addition, some workers reap the benefits of holiday pay.
"I like it. I get paid time and a half. I'd work all day any holiday," said Angela Patton, who was working at Speedway Saturday.
Often times, community members will also show their support.
"Norwood Church brings us meals every year. We really appreciate that," said Warden.
Additionally, many workers have created their own holiday traditions during the work hours.
"This is my second family," said firefighter Bob Davison, who was sharing a meal Thursday afternoon with fellow firefighters at Marietta's Station One.
As retail employees struggle to make similar adjustments and come to terms with the changing scope of their job, long-time holiday workers can sympathize with them.
"I can understand why they would be upset," said patrolman Bob Ellenwood.
Still, in these tough economic times, it is good to have any job at all, said Rhodes.
Washington County Sheriff's Office dispatcher Jason Hall echoed that sentiment.
"I might be a little upset, but I'd be thankful to have a paycheck," said Hall.