I remember, when I was a little girl, most stores closed altogether and others closed early on major holidays. My parents had to make sure they had everything they needed to make Thanksgiving dinner because the grocery stores would only be open for so long.
Even now there is something special about driving through our usually bustling little city and seeing most stores and restaurants dark on holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It forces us busy Americans to slow down, whether we like it or not. Everyone needs that once in a while.
Relaxing with my family on Thanksgiving Day in 2009
I am disgusted and saddened by the creeping consumerism that has stores not only opening, but offering “doorbuster” deals on Thanksgiving day. This year some are opening as early as 5 p.m. (I’m looking at you, Toys ‘R’ Us), and you can bet the employees aren’t allowed to show up at 4:55.
Worse yet, K-Mart isn’t bothering to close at all–stores will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, giving shoppers 41 straight hours to grab “Black Friday deals” before the doors shut at 11 p.m. on Black Friday. Sears Holdings Corporation proudly declares that they are “blurring the boundaries between offline and online shopping”. They’re also blurring the boundaries between human employees and computers.
Why are deals so important that we’re forcing retail employees away from their families in order to work and cater to consumers? And let’s be honest, it’s not just another work day for them; they’re dealing with some people behaving like animals–pushing, shoving, punching, to clear the shelves of products that even at deep discounts are worth a lot less than the price tag.
Think employees are volunteering to work because they want or need the extra money? Think again. According to an article on Time.com (emphasis mine):
In early October, word leaked that Macy’s had circulated a poll among employees to see if they would be willing to work starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while also implicitly stating that they might be called in to work whether they like it or not.
There are certainly some stores that provide for essential needs–gasoline, diapers or formula, medicine, etc. I am appreciative of the people who sacrifice their holidays to man the counters in case anyone is in need. But please explain to me why anyone needs a half price Furby at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Some consumers argue that employees in other fields, such as healthcare, have no choice but to work on Thanksgiving. Why should retail employees be any different? Well, okay. But do you see nothing incredibly sad about the fact that shoppers themselves can’t accept one full day of slowing down, getting off the hamster wheel for a change, just being satisfied with what they already have, most especially the good people in their lives?
Do kids prefer their parents waiting in line for the latest HOT TOYS!!! instead of spending time with them playing a board game or cuddled on the couch watching a movie? Will that killer new phone that you can use to virtually connect make up for the time you could have spent actually talking with people face-to-face?
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: You can put nice presents under the tree, even give to charity, without ever standing in line waiting for a store to open.
Know what you can’t buy on Thanksgiving, Black Friday or any other day at any price? Life.
Please join me, and others, in boycotting Thanksgiving Day sales. I challenge deal bloggers not to share Thanksgiving Day deals. Let’s send a message to retailers that hijacking our holidays is not profitable.