Saturday, November 23, 2013

Commercialism and Consumerism and National Holidays

There is quite the discussion and consternation going on lately about the whole opening of stores on Thanksgiving and the wee hours of the morning Black Friday madness.

Looking at it from a business owner's POV, HERE is a valid reason why some stores NEED to open on one of the sacred cows of Holidays, Thanksgiving.

I'm not going to get into a debate with anyone over if stores opening Turkey day or in the wee hours of the morning of the Friday following it is a good thing or bad.  It all depends on your own situation I guess......

* If you are a business owner, it's one extra day to make sales during the Holiday season, so your company has the potential for a bigger profit.
*  If you are a consumer you get another chance to get a great deal on more crap to fill your home or get into a fist fight over a toaster.
*  If you are a worker in the retail industry then you get the burden of having to work at a "holiday".....just like nearly ALL food service employees & hospital employees have had to do for many years on that day.  Working on Holidays is a well-known hazard of certain occupations so either find another line of work or, how can I say this in a nice way?.....STFU. 8-) 
I have worked both food service and retail in my younger days.  Was it a PITA working Holidays?  You bet!  Did I bitch about it non-stop?  No and I was glad to have those jobs.

I think that this whole contentious issue will be moot in a couple more years anyway.
Now that the "Stores not open on Turkey Day/Black Friday foolishness" line has been breeched, there is nothing keeping stores from starting Black Friday sales/promotions on the Tuesday before the holiday or even earlier in the month.

My feeling is, as a consumer, if you want to participate in this shopping craziness, knock yourself out!  And as an employee, if you don't want to have to work at this time of year, don't get yourself hired into the retail business.

Personally I have conflicted feelings about the whole celebration of Thanksgiving anyway.

I DO like that we have a national holiday that doesn't revolve around a religious event/theme.  There are many great people out in our society who are not religious, or not a follower of a Judeo-Christian sect.
It's nice to have a day set aside that we can be Americans together and not exclude anyone due to a belief system.

But then again, this whole Pilgrim/Plymouth Rock thing everyone "thinks" this event stems from is a myth.
It is a fact that the "not driven by religious persecution" immigrants to America who came to Jamestown in 1607 were the FIRST to celebrate an ersatz Thanksgiving, and they did it BEFORE the Pilgrims even landed at Plymouth Rock.
Add in that the first Europeans on the continent were the Spanish in Florida and they have a good case for being first too.

At any rate, the native peoples who were here FIRST have always seen Thanksgiving as a day of mourning.  The Europeans arriving on their shores signaled the beginning of the end for their way of life and their culture.

Maybe we should start fresh with a new national day of peace and thanksgiving and not premise it on cultural genocide and exclusion and not celebrate it with overconsumption of both material possessions and food.




  1. I'm working on Thanksgiving. I don't care that much because we're celebrating on Saturday instead anyway, however, I was sent a text that said people with families were being given preference in getting Thanksgiving Day off. Is it legal to do that?

    1. I don't know Lorraine. I've seen that done at Christmas too.
      I suspect it depends on the labor laws in your state, which vary widely.

  2. Ha! Thanksgiving is celebrated as a religious holiday around my neck of the woods. You would not believe the tales woven about the Pilgrims and religion. You did not know the Pilgrims were the first? I had people over for a party/get-together and as we went to the table to get food, they all stopped and said, "Aren't we going to pray?" Irritated, I said I thanked god as I bought the groceries that I could afford it. "Next time, pray before you leave home. Now, it is time to eat."

    Those same people continued for two years to do a little obligatory closed-eye-head-bob as they got to the table for my monthly gatherings. Obviously, prayers have short lives.

    I loved this post and the cartoons.

  3. I've delivered newspapers on Thanksgiving, and believe me, it's the HEAVIEST paper of the year. I've also worked many, many holidays when I was in broadcasting - the airing of tripe stops for no holiday! And believe me, crap breaks on holidays, too, making all that much more fun because you don't know when the phone is going to ring and there is no ignoring it when you're on call.

    I'm happy you recognize the whole T-giving holidy "origins" are a myth. Around here, they hold a "First Thanksgiving" celebration at a local plantation along the James River, thumbing their noses at those Plymouth Rock people up north. HAHAHAHA Oh, and the Indians bring the governor a deer (dead, but whole) as payment of taxes or something. It's pretty funny.

    I avoid all shopping between November 1 and January 31, save groceries. If I JUST CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT, I'll order it from Amazon or the like.

    Peace <3

  4. I hate to say this but that's easy to say when you don't have to work. Not so easy if you live the low-pay minimum wage life with very few perks for comfort. :-(

    1. Well I may not have to work outside the home now, but things weren't always that way for my family and me. I've lived the minimum wage existence thankyouverymuch. It was enough to motivate me to do what I had to and make the financial decisions in my life not to have to be in that position. I am a firm believer in giving a hand up to others once you get to a place of financial stability.
      But everyone has to at least be partially responsible for where they are in life.(I'm not talking about illness or injury that comes out of nowhere here, that can lead to disability.) Life is paved with decisions and how one responds to those opportunities leads you to where you are. If you don't like where you are, do what you can to change your life.

  5. America has gone from honoring God to honoring the almighty dollar. Every single holiday has a sale attached to it: Veterans Day, MLK, 4th of July, Columbus Day.......I mean really. It's disgusting. Is that all there is to their lives? Shopping and making profits? It costs money to keep a store open, so really what are the profits when you have to pay your staff double time or time & a half, plus payroll taxes, electricity, lights, security and on and on???
    Our last true holiday was Thanksgiving, and it seems like we just gave it all away so that someone could either shop or make a profit, rather than be with their family and celebrate with some sort of dignity and respect. You are even denigrating the pilgrims? No shame.
    The other day I had to walk through a Macy's to get to my bank and I could not believe all the stuff they had packed up in the aisles. I thought to myself, who is going to buy all this junk? Don't believe me....come back AFTER Christmas and see how much crap is left over, then discounted or just thrown away.
    Holidays are ridiculous and their once great meanings have been forever lost. What a shame. A country that idolizes money.
    Just sayin'

    1. Let's see now...denigrating Puritans? I'd say they were hypocrites, fleeing oppressive Anglican England for the New World to practice their version of religion, only to be just as oppressive and intolerant of others who also fled(Quakers anyone?)to MA. Puritans were responsible for jailing, hanging, burning at the stake those who did not share their belief system, if those poor unfortunates didn't have the sense to lead of their own accord when coerced to do so. They even forced radicals in their own religion to flee(Roger Williams and his group to form RI). Then there was all the burning women accused of being witches nonsense later on.....those were the "put em on a pedestal" Puritans who did that as well.
      And then there are all the natives they killed off either from fear or because they just wanted to take over their lands.
      I'd say their actions spoke volumes about how wonderful they really were.
      Why should we model a holiday after this religious group?
      I'd say the early Quakers who came to PA are more worthy of emulating.

    2. Then work to change the holiday to mean exactly what a day of 'Thanksgiving' should mean. A day to reflect on the good things in a persons life. I'm not a teacher nor did I ever promote such drivel. I was always taught that Thanksgiving was and is a day of giving thanks. Period. Where all this disparity over the Pilgrims came about, is, in my opinion, just another way for liberals to bash another American tradition. Same with Christmas. Destroy Jesus and thus justify the destruction of the holiday. Sorry, I won't give in to this. Apparently, I am not alone (but slowly losing to the masses)

      Did the pilgrims really sit down to a meal that they shared with the Indians? Did the American indians really save some of the pilgrims lives? How the pilgrims returned the favor is immaterial. Celebrate the goodness of the Indians. That's what I always have. Man has been pillaging since Cain killed Able. Enough! Look to the good rather than the bad.
      Bashing the Quakers/Pilgrims/Whatever is just another way to justify going out and friggin' shopping and/or idolizing money above God. The liberal ends justify their means. I won't give in to it. I celebrate the day with my family and we do NOT go out shopping later when the meal is over. Horrific! IMHO.

  6. I have worked my share of holidays both in retail and in the hospital, why, because it was part of my job and I kind of like getting a paycheck. My youngest has to be at work at 7pm on Thanksgiving and is working til 2am BUT they are paying her time and half, plus and extra four hours to use when she wants and she is off the rest of black friday. She works pt in retail, its expected, she isn't complaining and truthfully we will be done eating by then. We aren't going shopping so when she gets home she can just go to bed. And since she is working that night they are letting the employees do there shopping when there shift is over and still get the Thanksgiving and Black friday prices. So she is getting her brothers sneakers for almost half price and some work out clothes for her sister half price.

    I fully expect that next year they will start the sales on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. But if the people will show up the stores will open. I had to listen to one of the women at work talk for 20 minutes about all the money she was going to "save" on black Friday and how she could buy more because she was saving money. I kept my mouth shut(I know can you believe it) and thought if your buying more crap your not saving anything!!!!!!!! But this is the same woman who bought all three of her kids there own ps3's last year so they wouldnt have to fight over games..meh :/

  7. Hahaha. I love these posts, really, and I remember last year's too. I think Thanksgiving is as much of a farce to most modern Americans as Caribbean islands celebrating Columbus day (after all, thanks to him, our native population went as low as zero in some of the islands, including mine). You would've thought that something like 9/11 had to happen for people to REALLY think about what and why they are thankful for what really matters (like our troops, emergency personnel, those every day heroes, etc). Isn't that sad... That said, I will be looking for the best way to hide myself during Thanksgiving and involve myself in internal monologue. I have never been a holiday person to begin with.

  8. I'm like you Tanner, not much of a holiday person. I mean, I appreciate having the time off and all but can do without overloading on food and spending $$ on things that people don't need or really want if truth be told. I prefer to plan "togetherness" gifts so this year Kazi and I are going to see Les Mis in Toronto, going out to dinner together and spending the night in a nice hotel. Creating a memory that will hopefully outlast any little trinket I could get her. (What I AM buying her are things she'll need when she gets her first apartment - kitchen utensils and the like - she's really THRILLED (NOT) when she opens those gifts lol! She'll appreciate them someday though! :)
    I HATE shopping, always have and the busier the stores get the further away from them I stay.

  9. Black Friday? What Black Friday? I thought, it's called Brown Thursday now, lol :)
    My husband used to work retail and I deeply hated this season (and no, he didn't get overtime and didn't have a choice). I don't celebrate Thanksgiving for the reasons most Americans do - or say they do. To me, it's a great opportunity to think what I'm thankful for and enjoy family time. But I do a little bit of shopping once in a while on Friday, I just avoid doorbusters craziness.

    And as for an all-american, non-religious holiday, isn't it what 4th of July is all about?

  10. Den and I were talking about this and I saw going to work on Thanksgiving as a great way of getting out of making dinner. Den thought that it would be way easier just to work than cook. I tend to agree.


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