Thursday, November 28, 2013

That Time of the Year

It is that time of the year again...

when some people gear up to take advantage of Black Friday sales and others complain about the sales including the fact that more and more stores open on Thanksgiving Day.

Should stores be open on Thanksgiving?  They are open on nearly every other holiday - no one but banks and the government are found closing for Martin Luther King Jr Day or Veteran's Day - so why not, some would say.  Others would argue that Thanksgiving Day is a "major" holiday and an important family time so they should be closed.

While I will happily critique our consumer culture (and not just on holidays)...while I will happily question whether we really need access to our favorite stories 24/7...while I will happily talk about what other things we could be doing with our money rather than buying ourselves and others more things we don't need...while all of this is true for me, I'm also not sure the worst thing to ever happen to humanity is stores being open on Thanksgiving Day.

Consider this:

  • Thinking that stores being open on Thanksgiving Day is an affront to family life assumes a Norman Rockwell picture that is simply not true for many people. 

  • There are those who can't afford to feed their families on Thanksgiving Day and are happy to work to earn extra money to support them.

  • There are those who are far away from their family who will have lonely Thanksgivings and are happy to have a diversion, perhaps even shopping for loved ones they are missing on Thanksgiving Day.

  • There are those who have experienced deep grief, health issues, financial difficulties or some other struggle or trauma that finds them struggling to be grateful and perhaps a bit of normalcy (even if just their local store being open) might get them through the day.
I do recognize that some people who have family festivities going on will have to leave early or miss the fun because their work is demanding it of them.  The same is true of nurses, doctors, and many other behind the scenes people who keep life as we know it going.  I suggest that we go out of our way to appreciate their commitment.

And if you don't think stores should be open today...don't shop today.  The reality is that business will do whatever the customers demand.  Don't criticize Target or Kohl's or any other store for doing what we the people have asked.  If it is important to you, have a conversation with your neighbors, friends, and family about - not demanding everyone do what you want, but talking about why it matters.  Or better yet, be a person whose kindness is so overwhelming that people would rather be with you than be getting a good deal at Target today!

No comments: