Retail Me Not?

Warning: I am going to sound like my dad in this post.

I read an article the other day stating that Macy’s will begin their Black Friday sale at 6pm on Thanksgiving evening. Last year the sale began at 8pm on Thanksgiving. Many other stores follow the same path opening in the evening on Thursday or at midnight for Black Friday sales.

While I am all for a great sale, doesn’t this whole idea seem counter-intuitive? Thanksgiving is supposed to be about exactly that, giving thanks. To be thankful for what we have. To be thankful for more than just the material stuff. To be thankful for the loving people around you, for the roof over your head, for the food on your plate, for the warmth of your clothes, for the life that you lead. But we cannot even allow this festival of thanks last for a full 24 hours. We are instead encroaching on that one day with the prospect of buying a flat screen TV for 50% off.

Macy’s stated that workers were more than happy to work on Thanksgiving for the time-and-a-half pay and to have some time off on Black Friday. They said most of the shifts for Thanksgiving evening were filled voluntarily. I don’t blame these workers. Some people really need the money. Some people celebrate Thanksgiving early in the day and the festivities are completed by 5pm. Some people just don’t do much for the holiday period. But this is more than just some people working on Thanksgiving, let’s face it many jobs require work on holidays.

To me having the Black Friday sales begin on Thanksgiving speaks about our societal priorities. We cannot wait to buy that new jacket, or sound system, or couch. We need to get out to these sales as quickly as possible. We cannot satiate our desire for material goods. Can we not wait a full 24 hours to truly express how thankful we are for the lives we live?

I for one will not be out on Thanksgiving shopping. I will eat some amazing food. I will watch football. I will spend time with my family and loved ones. Because that is what Thanksgiving is about and it deserves a full 24 hours.


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