Must We Shop on Thanksgiving?

8 comments

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.

thanksgiving
Don’t these people look happy? Thanksgiving is sooo relaxing!

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?

pie

 

8 comments on “Must We Shop on Thanksgiving?”

  1. Forget it! First off you couldn’t get me out with those crowds but more I will not make anyone work for me on thanksgiving! Love your post!!

  2. I choose pie too Ann. IMO, the push of consumerism, even just generally speaking is two fold – companies want to make $, but people also think that material items bring happiness which is really not true. But we buy and buy in pursuit of happiness, but still find ourselves with an inner void. I saw a ted talk, I can’t remember what it was called, about how people today are even more unhappy than in the past. Since we’re told by the media that buying stuff makes us happy we keep going in search of happiness through consumerism, only for it to never work (at least not for long). Anyways, sorry that was kind of a tangent, but that’s what your post made me think about.

  3. I think it’s so sad that retailers here have encroached on what once used to be sacred family time. I know that some people ENJOY shopping and love to be out there, but there really is no reason for it to start that early (before dawn) or be on an actual family holiday. Sometimes you need to be forced to do something via the lack of other options (hang out with your family) to realize how nice it really is.

    Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who HATES (and I mean HATE) shopping.

  4. I don’t love it. I used to work at a grocery store and we were open on Thanksgiving morning, but I would always volunteer to work because I didn’t have to cook a dinner and could just show up at 3pm (that way those with families that did have to cook could have the day off). Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – it’s all about being with friends and family, eating and being thankful. There are no presents or religious affiliations!

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