Is America's Apple Pie Rotting?
Let's face it Thanksgiving is a bi polar holiday! On one hand it's a great holiday that represents community, graciousness, charity and appreciation, bringing families and friends together for one great meal. However, the other side of Thanksgiving is a little darker. The national pride that flows through this holiday also cheers on the dark past of invasion of lands which we now call the United States of America. You could debate the repercussions of the historic significance of Thanksgiving for hours but when push comes to shove, the holiday still represents our nation and therefore is part of our national identity. Since the holiday is and has been turned into such a large portion of Americana, what does this say about us?
Well unfortunately this year, like the past few years, the holiday seems to be molded by the idea of shopping, more specifically on Thanksgiving night and as early as 6 am! Everyone knows the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, the day many stores cross into the black (which means they make a profit for the year). It's also the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season and a day that offers some of the best sales of the year. However since the financial downturn stores have been slowly creeping in on Thanksgiving dinner!
So once again a country with so much to offer is being chiseled down to one trait: Greed. Even those who work in retail are beginning to revolt against the earlier hours, a petition of 200,000 signatures from Target employees was delivered to the stores headquarters just days before Thanksgiving to protest working before midnight on Thanksgiving night. Whether or not Target will change their hours is yet to be seen but with competitive stores opening just as early, it is very unlikely that Target will change their opening time.
With every hour earlier the stores open on Thanksgiving is one more rotten apple in America's proverbial apple pie!
For a country that defines itself through it's identities like Thanksgiving, what does it mean when that identity is over washed by the next best sale?
Are we a nation of sell outs? Is the whole American persona just a smoke screen for what we really are: greedy. The intrusion of black Friday on the heels of Thanksgiving dinner is a detriment to the value of our country! With every hour earlier the stores open on Thanksgiving is one more rotten apple in America's proverbial apple pie! In a way it is ironic that on a day we set aside to be grateful for what we have, has now turning into a night of consuming what we don't have (and I don't mean the eating that occurs that day!). Are we letting the almighty dollar spoil our turkey, mash potatoes, and apple pie? It sure feels like it. Thanksgiving is slowly being squeezed out of existence by the uncontrollable need to shop for things many of us don't need.
As controversial as the history of Thanksgiving is, what it means to me is family and friends and that is something that cannot be traded in for a great deal on an LCD television.
Let's give Thanksgiving the time it deserves, it is only one day of the year. But that one day is filled with great food, friends and family, something that all should strive to enjoy and be grateful that we can enjoy! Whether you are a shopper or a retail worker don't you want to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner instead of freezing outside waiting in line, surrounded by some people who may have had too much to drink at dinner? I know i'm not going shopping on Thanksgiving, maybe not even at all this weekend. As controversial as the history of Thanksgiving is, what it means to me is family and friends and that is something that cannot be traded in for a great deal on an LCD television. So i ask you what will you do after you finish dinner on Thursday?
Are We Seeing Some Changes in 2013?
Here we are rolling into a new holiday season and Thanksgiving is getting even shorter! Kmart announced they will be opening up at 6 am on Thanksgiving Day and won't close for 41 hours straight! In other words, Kmart has replaced Thanksgiving as a shopping holiday! I feel bad for those employees who can't afford to miss work but will have to miss the whole holiday to serve Kmart's greedy choices!
However there may be some change in the air as some stores have made it well known that they will not be open on the holiday. These stores include Costco, BJ's, and Nordstrom.
Paul Latham, Costco's vice president of membership and marketing emailed the Huffington Post "Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families."
Latham's statement embraces what the holiday should be about to retailers, giving their employees a day off to be thankful in the busiest time of year. My hat goes off to Latham and all those working at Costco, BJ's and Nordstrom for refusing to participate in the greed induced fever of opening up on Thanksgiving!
You can get involved as well! Sign this petition to keep Black Friday on Black Friday and wait to shop till after Thanksgiving!