The whole point of Thanksgiving is to reflect on what’s important – family, friends, a bountiful table, time to hang out and watch a parade, football game, or re-run of a favorite movie. It’s about re-kindling time honored family traditions and re-creating dysfunctional family dynamics. It’s a time to be thankful for what we have…not a time to run out and get MORE STUFF.
I’m all for shopping…I love shopping! We have a tradition of Black Friday shopping in my family. Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, my mom and I would wake up from our turkey induced stupor and start bargain hunting. But does anyone really need to rush out at 4pm on Thanksgiving Day to buy a big screen TV or latest version of X-Box? Can’t it wait one day?
And what about all those workers who have to leave their families to work on Thanksgiving Day? Let’s face it, retail workers are among the lowest paid in the nation – earning an average of $8.81 per hour. Would you enjoy being forced to leave your children, your cozy home, and Aunt Suzie’s pumpkin pie to work for eight hours in a literal crush of deal-crazed shoppers for $70.48 before taxes? Even if they earned double time for working on a holiday those employees couldn’t afford to buy half the goods in the store with their earnings – even when they’re on sale.
Retailers claim that they’re just responding to their customer’s demands, but I’m not so sure – it seems like a chicken or the egg theory to me. What came first, consumer demand or the open stores? And once you open the floodgates, where does it end? Does Thanksgiving just become another shopping holiday?
Today, with the increased pressure of being “on call” 24/7 via our smart phones and ever-increasing demands on families, it seems that there are so few opportunities to gather with family and friend and just relax and enjoy each other (or on the other hand, work through all those family dynamics and psychodramas- what else are we going to talk about all year long?!). Furthermore, what are we teaching our kids about Thanksgiving, “Be thankful for what you have kids, but Mom has to leave now to rush out to Walmart to buy more plastic stuff! See ya!” Is saving a few bucks is more important than spending time together? Can’t we agree to turn our backs on consumerism for just one day?
What’s your feeling about this new trend of stores being open on Thanksgiving?