Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The War on Thanksgiving!

America, for shame! How dare this nation's retailers -- led by the Evil Empire, Walmart -- open on Thanksgiving!

There is a war on Thanksgiving. Why aren't the usual voices being raised in alarm?

Okay, I'll be glad to do it.

There have always been people who worked on Thanksgiving. Hospital workers, for instance. Police officers. The Detroit Lions.

But let me tell you young whippersnappers: Thanksgiving was different back in the 20th century.

First of all, everything was closed, including gas stations and restaurants and grocery stores. People planned ahead. They got their cranberries and petrol the day before and stayed home on the holiday. It would have been considered a sin, where I grew up, if any kind of store was open on Thanksgiving. I don't think even McDonald's was open on Thanksgiving, let alone the department stores.

I won't say the 1960s were a kinder, gentler time, not by any means. It just wouldn't have occurred to people to shop on Thanksgiving. Now that the Black Friday cat has been let out of the bag, Thanksgiving will very quickly become yet another working day for all of the world except us lazy public school teachers and postal employees.

And yet there's no umbrage about this. No righteous indignation at the cheapening of a national celebration. If Sarah Palin has complained about a clear sign of disrespect for family values, I haven't heard it. No one seems alarmed that rampant consumerism has trumped the one day of the year when we were asked to contemplate what we already have.

I'm almost idly curious about the kind of person who would go out shopping on Thanksgiving. Conceivably, this person would have people to shop for. So why isn't this person with those people? Have we become too unmoored from our ancestral homes?

Ah, I don't think I need to be so philosophical. Stores are opening on Thanksgiving so people can go shopping for poor, besieged Christmas. Maybe this is the way Christmas will win the war.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

There definitely is a War on Thanksgiving, unlike the spurious War on Christmas. It's all just appalling.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should declare a one-day minimum wage of $35 dollars an hour for Thanksgiving.... No, then people still wouldn't have family time, they would just feel better about working. Oh well....

Anonymous said...

If wages were $35/hour for working Thanksgiving, then Black Friday should be at least $50. Hazard pay!
But businesses wouldn't be able to pay the workers so there either wouldn't be enough workers or the stores wouldn't open.
I don't shop either of those days. No skin off me.

--Lori F

Lucretia said...

I've been fighting my own war against "Black Friday" for YEARS. I refuse point blank to shop on the day after Thanksgiving. I most CERTAINLY refuse to shop on Thanksgiving itself! And I also try to avoid shopping in any stores (other than craft stores) that have Christmas decorations up before December 1st; I'm not always successful, less so every year as more stores do it, but I try.

You're so right, Anne, the 60's may not have been a better time per se, but we DID understand the meaning of the word "holiday"... while no longer a "holy day", it still meant "not a working day".

Anonymous said...


Seriously, I can't believe what's happened. Or rather I can because of how the American landscape has shifted from community to greed.

Thanks to the right wing. That's why they're not raising the alarm about the loss of Thanksgiving. It plays straight into their agenda of greed and obsession with money. Make the underlings of society either work or fight for shoddy products while the ones on top rank in the profits.


Laura said...

I have always loathed Black Friday! And as a former retail worker (for 14 years) I hated having to work on holidays. I think everything changed in the mid to late 90's. Before then, we were always closed on Thanksgiving but after that I was always working on Thanksgiving. One year, my family brought me a plate to my work. :-(
The people who do shop on Thanksgiving should be ashamed of themselves. Ugh!

Anne Johnson said...

I caught a speck of conservative talk radio on Thanksgiving. It was around noon. The talk show host said, "Well, I know that you all are just about to sit down to your holiday feast." WHAT? Not at Chateau Johnson! I know some people have always done it that way, but I think most Americans eat Thanksgiving dinner mid-afternoon to early evening. Of course that doesn't accommodate Thursday shopping ...