There are certain things that should not be toyed with, but people choose to change things just the same. It’s reached the point where nothing is sacred, where the things we hold most dear are being knocked aside in the name of commercialism.
The latest unspeakable act is the infringement on Thanksgiving, a day when we all pause and give our gratitude for what we have. It’s also a day where we consume mass quantities of turkey and cranberries, but no one said our rituals were meant to make sense.
Thanksgiving was once a holiday where very few of us had to work. Of course, emergency services, hospital employees, prison guards and select others had to sacrifice the day off, but most of us could count on the day being relatively free of worry—unless we didn’t prepare our bird properly.
Now, the retail industry, which had previously been held at bay until Friday, has decided to preempt our well-deserved meals until after we’ve raced through their stores like sprinters trying to set a world record. The Black Friday sales for Walmart, Target and a few other businesses are now taking place on Thanksgiving Day, with many retail workers having to work on that day to accommodate the hordes on hungry bargain hunters.
Black Friday is considered the official start of the Christmas season. Traditionally, that start has been heralded by basement-level prices on certain items many of us could only dream of possessing. Years ago, retail stores opened their doors early at 6 a.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving in the hopes of having the best sales day of the year.
In the last few years, that start time has moved up to the point where the stores were having midnight sales. Now, even the hope of having a quick nap before the shopping spree starts is impossible.
It appears this nation’s greed has reached the point where “a day off” is considered to be a dirty concept. Last year, Walmart started its Black Friday sale at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Now, the sale is scheduled for 6 p.m. At my family’s Thanksgiving, we’re just barely getting to dessert at 6 p.m.
Why are we so greedy in this day and age? Why is it so vital for the stores to make money, and why do the rest of us make it easy for them to continue their path to Greensville?
Now, for most people, it would make sense to wait until Friday morning to do our shopping, regardless of when the sale kicks off. However, the stores establish certain bargains where the supply is extremely limited and the price only lasts for a short time, so of course we feel that the start of the sale is the only time to strategically get our holiday shopping.
Why do the companies do this? Because they want to be the best. Sadly, their effort to make us the best leaves us all much poorer as a result.
It’s going to take a massive effort to curb this disturbing trend to gobble up Thanksgiving. It’s going to take an attitude shift of most of the people in this country, which I don’t see happening anytime soon.
The only other option would be changing the law. It’s been done for alcohol sales in a number of states, and there are several states limiting activities on Sundays due to religious services. While I’m against setting standards based on religion, it’s important to point out that America’s Thanksgiving Day was set by Congress, not the churches. It’s the only way we can make it clear that we want to enjoy our holidays.
The fourth Thursday of November is supposed to be a day of expressing thanks. Now, our only expression is “Thank you—Now gimme!”