In case you just arrived here from Jupiter (how’s the weather? Seen any good meteorites?), today is the biggest shopping day in the United States, and maybe the whole world. Maybe in the jungle, cannibals are offering two torsos for the price of one. Or buy one torso and get a leg for free. But I doubt it – that seems like too good a deal. Plus, I think our retail bonanza is tied to Thanksgiving, which is an American holiday.
As a way of giving thanks for their abundance, people in this country try to eat up all their abundance in one day the form of giant birds, mountains of mashed potatoes with gravy, butter, sour cream, and salt plus an accoutrement of breads, vegetables, and desserts with butter as the main ingredient until they have to go lie on the floor or sofa or ambulance stretcher to recover. The lucky people give extra thanks because they get to sleep in the next day.
The unlucky ones must set their alarm clocks for 3:00 a.m. so they can wake up out of their L-tryptophan stupor and return to work to await the herd of bargain-lusting shoppers wanting to bust down the door for savings. We in America call this day Black Friday, I’m assuming because the guy unlocking the door for the crazed shoppers gets knocked down and trampled in the stampede, resulting to black scuff marks all over his face, arms, stomach, and legs.
If you’re really and truly unlucky and work for Michaels in the Metropolitan Portland area, then you had to push yourself up off the floor, drunk on bourbon pecan pie and shots of Jack Daniels quaffed on the sly with your alcoholic Uncle Bob, and put yourself in the mood to peddle arts and crafts at 5::00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to other overstuffed and miserable drunks who felt the compulsion to leave the comfort of their warm homes and beloved friends and relatives in order to get a leg up on Black Friday shoppers who dared to wait until the rest of the stores open at 4:00 a.m. the next day.
If you take the time to notice, you’ll see that the previous paragraph was all one sentence. You’ll also observe that American stores have become so obsessed with trying to get a leg up on other businesses that they are kicking down the very institutions that brought them business in the first place. If they open their stores on Thanksgiving, then why bother even having that holiday? Sure, the grocery stores make a killing on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, but if you force workers and shoppers to forsake their traditions so that your business can make money, what happens to the tradition? No one is home having Thanksgiving dinner with their families because they’re out shopping.
Same thing goes with Christmas decorations in October. They will eventually replace all Halloween decorations, and then that fun family holiday that gives adults an opportunity to hang out with their children and socialize with their neighbors as they gather free candy in the freezing rain – even that will fall by the wayside. And as you continue to blather about “holiday” festivities and Christmas lists earlier and earlier, consumers get more and more disgusted with the whole business. In case you store owners also just arrived from Jupiter, let me give you a heads-up: WE HATE CHRISTMAS ADS ON THE TV, RADIO, IN THE PAPER, ON FLYERS, AND CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND DECORATIONS, EVEN RED AND GREEN COLORS – WE HATE THE MERE THOUGHT OF CHRISTMAS before Thanksgiving.
Those of us who get our holiday shopping done early (sometimes on December 26th of the previous year) are going to continue doing that whether you advertise and decorate at an obscenely early date or at the proper time, and those of us who wait until the last minute to shop, (sometimes on December 24th), are going to continue doing that. Or else we are going to ignore the whole Christmas thing altogether, be forced to report to work on Christmas day, buy up everything on sale before the after Christmas sale, and say to hell with it.
In my humble (though always right) opinion, if we’re stupid enough to forget to buy a carton of eggs on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I can guarantee that no one is going to starve to death as a result, so I can’t see any excuse for a lot of these stores to be open on Thanksgiving and other traditional family gathering holidays. Give employees a break, for crying out loud. And don’t start sputtering about the exceptions, about the people who don’t have families or who don’t celebrate traditional holidays. It’s a lame excuse for money-grubbing, and you know it.
But will any of you listen? Of course not, because you’re too afraid that someone is going to get a little more of the market share than you are. Well, let it be known right here and now – I refuse to shop at Michaels for the rest of this year, and possibly forever, because they forced employees to work on Thanksgiving for no good reason. You can take your market share and shove it up your tofurkey for all I care (see previous post if this doesn’t make sense, and if it still doesn’t, go back to Jupiter).