For years, I have been a vocal opponent of Black Friday morning shopping. My mother is a full-time big-box retail store employee and is not allowed to take vacation between Halloween and (now) Jan. 6. We live in different cities–nearly 5 hours by car (or plane, given the time in airport). I haven’t spent Thanksgiving with my mother for many, many years. It used to be my family’s favorite holiday (no gifts, just food and family).
But thanks to Black Friday and the greed of both corporate and consumer America, our family Thanksgivings are without my side of the family. My mother works until midnight on Wed/Thurs, then must be in to work no later than 4am Friday. A common autumn exchange is this:
“Please, Mom, just call in sick,” I say. “No, I can’t, I have to work, honey,” says my very honest mother. “I miss you,” I say. “I miss you,” says Mom.
“Maybe I should bring everyone to you and cook the meal,” I say. “No,” Mom, “There’s no point. I’ll be too tired..”
But this year, retailers started a midnight Thurs/Friday opening that unravel other families as well. Soon, your employer may also wonder why you aren’t working on Thanksgiving weekend as well.
Thanksgiving is suppose to be a national day of giving thanks–not for the almighty dollar–that was officially declared as the final Thursday in November by no less than President Abraham Lincoln. In 1941, the holiday was changed to the 4th Thursday in November.
This is a federal and state government holiday, including public schools as well as universities, local governments, libraries and more. It may even be a parking-meter holiday in your city.
But alas, if retailers are open on Thanksgiving, your employer may soon wonder why on earth you aren’t working. Thanksgiving is in danger of going the way of Columbus Day and Veterans’ Day.
What can you do?
Simple: Don’t shop early and often. Sleep in and go to Black Friday sales only after normal weekday shopping hours (usually 9am or 10am) have begun. Don’t shop on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving should be reserved for family and food.
I hope to again spend Thanksgiving with my mom–and in the meantime, I hope you will help me at least preserve the sanctity of Thanksgiving Day. There has to be a least one day per year when America doesn’t need to shop. With your help, this can happen!