I’ve never participated in Black Friday but I certainly don’t begrudge others having their fun with it. No harm, no foul. I like to relax the last few days of November and start prepping for Christmas on December 1st but hey… to each their own. Maybe I’ve just been asleep and didn’t notice that the day after Thanksgiving shopping was turning into the day OF Thanksgiving shopping but it’s undeniable this year. Big advertising dollars have been spent bombarding us with the message that Thanksgiving shopping is ON like Donkey Kong.
Lots of us complain that Christmas comes earlier and earlier. Like in September. I liked a Facebook post where a friend snapped a picture and captioned it “premature decoration.” But opening stores and forcing employees to work on Thanksgiving so other people can shop is taking it too far, in my opinion. I’ve had the friendly debate where it’s suggested that retailers probably ask employees to volunteer for those shifts or pay them holiday or overtime pay and I hope that’s true. But then I read about a guy who worked his way up from being a cook to general manager of a Pizza Hut in Indiana being fired because he didn’t want to open the store on Thanksgiving. For years the only two days his store had been closed was on Thanksgiving and Christmas so employees could spend the time with their families. Seriously?? Who the hell needs pizza on those two days a year? Public backlash may have Pizza Hut re-thinking overestimating their importance in the marketplace.
I don’t get it. Why does the retail industry need to lure people away from their Thanksgiving table? I venture to call it pandering when Old Navy sticks a flyer in my bag offering the first 500 people to line up on Thanksgiving Day a chance to win $1 million dollars. Sensational and over the top for sure. What is the holiday going to be reduced to? Stuffing the gobbler down our gullet to rush off shopping? A turkey sandwich to go? Drive thru Thanksgiving? That’s what it feels like to me, that a perfectly lovely family holiday is being seized by Big Box retail. Move over Black Friday here comes Stanky Thanksgiving!
The corporate motivation is clear – more profit – but what’s the consumer’s? Didn’t we learn from the financial crash that having it all isn’t necessarily where it’s at? Or is it the financial crunch that make us think this is the way to produce the perfect Christmas on a budget? Could this scene from the TV sitcom “The Middle” be funny and have a ring of truth to it?
It’s not too late to save Thanksgiving from being swallowed whole by the jaws of Christmas. It’s simple. Don’t answer the rebel yell of retail and it’s unsavory effort to erode Thanksgiving. Stay home your family instead of fighting the crowd. The payoff is better and so much sweeter.