Puerto Ricans are getting ready for the year’s prime shopping season but face the controversial government decision to delay the payment of public employees’ Christmas bonuses until after Black Friday in a bid to shift spending away from the giant U.S. chains to small, local retailers.
The previous Puerto Rico administration distributed the bonuses in time for workers to take advantage of Black Friday discounts and specials at the big-box stores.
The president of the CUD small retailers federation, Enid Monge, told Efe on Tuesday that what the government has done this year is simply to play by the rules, which say that public employees must be paid their Christmas bonuses not later than Dec. 20.
The prior government’s approach spurred Puerto Ricans into frenzied shopping sprees the day after Thanksgiving, which in the end caused small businesses to suffer, not having the resources to compete with the advertising of the big chains on Black Friday, she said.
“Local businesses don’t benefit from Black Friday shopping,” Mongue said, stressing that the money Puerto Ricans spend in big-box stores is money drained away from the island.
The government’s decision against paying Christmas bonuses early was criticized Tuesday by former opposition Sen. Luis Muñiz, who said the policy hurts working people.