How many people out there believe that if a person is a low wage worker, that person should be denied the ability to observe traditional, cultural holidays in America?
If you raised your hand, then kick yourself in your own ass as hard as you can.
You see, holidays are more than just holidays. They are symbolic of how we feel about the ourselves as a culture, and in this case, since Thanksgiving is about the very inception of community in America-but now, apparently Thanksgiving is only good for making money--and not building community.
Wow, that's the world I want to help create, one that revolves exclusively around money.
On a side note, don't you ever wonder why people don't know or care about some of our most famous presidents, or who Martin Luther King Jr is and what he accomplished? Because the holidays we designated for those famous historical figures are nothing more than annual sales. Those days have become all-day shopping affairs. The original meaning behind these holidays has vanished, in favor of chasing that ever elusive "good deal". When was the last time you knew of a parade on these days to honor these historical figures?
No one cares why, or who or how, so long as they can either make money that day, or get what they think is a good deal on some object. And now Thanksgiving and Christmas are falling down the same money-laden holes. Meanwhile our best and brightest sit around scratching their heads, wondering why "Nothing is Sacred" in this culture at all.
Now I am not a Christian, but I appreciate the symbolism of Christmas, as it appears in that religious context, as well as it's counterparts that take place all over the world.
Rebirth, renewal, family, community, sharing, charity--that time when humanity found literal and figurative warmth during the longest and coldest nights of the year. Winter stores would soon be running thin, and everyone hoped spring would come soon, and with it, food and warm sunny days. And during that lean time, caring for your neighbors and family, helping your community by contributing.
But now--it's long lines waiting for some kind of hand held device, that spies on you for corporations and maybe even the government. Does that seem like a good trade to you? Would you rather have an impersonal hand held computer or a community?
Thanksgiving is similar in many ways, to Christmas, but without all the gift giving. Though it seems as people work longer hours for less money and benefits, we have had to start shopping earlier and earlier in the year, to cover all those obligatory gifts, to make our dollar stretch.
So now stores put up Christmas decor as early as August. Most start several days before Halloween. We are bombarded with Xmas Spirit the weeks prior to Halloween, through Thanksgiving all the way to days after Xmas [that's the bland corporate version of Christmas].
And now more and more employees are being asked to give up their Thanksgiving Holiday, so that the companies they work for, can rake in the bucks between Halloween and Xmas. And many employees are asked to work now, on Xmas eve as well. That's not counting all the bullshit that transpires the day after Xmas, all the way to New Years.
In our increasingly service oriented serfdom, more and more people are being denied even basic holiday observances so that they can wait on, that 53 percent of Americans who can afford to be home for the holidays.
But the best part is, that someone HAS to work those registers on those days. Someone who isn't going to get the day off, and in the case of Walmart, someone who probably isn't going to be compensated for working a major holiday. While you are at home diddling with your new gadget, some poor bastard at these stores is going to be missing their own family on a big holiday. Wondering if there will be any turkey left when they get home, or pie, or if they will get back in time before their elderly relatives leave, to go back to whatever other state they live in.
These are the same stores that treat their employees like crap. Hey, we all want a job, but at what cost? There is working, as in an equal exchange of energies, and then there is someone owning you. Somehow these stores and their handlers lost that notion.
Even the military, where you might have to be on duty on a holiday, does their best to make it up to the troops. They make sure you are provided with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, if you are deployed, often your family is provided a means to contact you over Skype or Satellite Phone, other amenities and entertainment is provided, to make sure that you know, your country appreciates the fact that you are working on a major holiday. And barring that some kind of compensatory deal is made to help make up for the loss. And FYI--Military folk work holidays for the purposes of National Security! What is Target's Excuse? Walmart? Any of these stores? What is so important that they need to be open on these days? Why a sale the day of instead of weeks before? Why not in June or August?
But the big box stores in question don't do that. They just want you there, they don't care what the personal cost is to you, or any of that dewy eyed bullshit about holidays. SHOW THEM THE MONEY! They don't even care about community, unless of course they can get something for caring about it.
That is why, once again, we will not be shopping at stores that are open on these dates. No thank you. No Black Friday crap for me. Beyond the absolute affront this offers to the idea of American Community--It's not worth it to deal with the stressed out shoppers who will become enraged over parking spots, or red lights that last too long, who cut in line, or are otherwise walking germ factories oozing the flu.
And heaven help you if you have to use the restroom during this time. Women from all over the world come here, to pee on our toilet seats in the lady's restrooms, apparently not caring that small children cannot "hover" leaving their mom to have to clean it up in a jiffy so that we can all enjoy an indoor restroom with a door, as opposed to squatting on sidewalk, which is where those wannabe debutantes belong.
The sales are just not worth that. And most of the time, even by normal standards, the sales are not that great. So why bother? Why bother when you can just avoid all this, and maybe send the message to these behemoth stores, that all Americans should be entitled to some time off to observe the holidays, or perhaps just to get a little rest from the insanity.
I don't shop on those holidays, because it perpetuates a harmful paradigm that erodes what used to be some of the deeper bonds of shared cultural identity. I don't shop those days because it's insane and stupid and I have no patience for the drama. I don't shop those days, because I am hoping that some day the rest of America will wake up and say, "No More" to this insanity, so that we can all enjoy well earned time with our families, to renew those connections that weather long hours, low wages and few or no benefits.
How many recitals did you miss this year? How many softball or soccer games? How many teacher conferences did you have to reschedule or just miss outright? How many times did you put off maintenance to your car, or a doctor's appointment for you, because you just are tired to dealing with dickish policies that pervade the atmosphere in America right now? And now this? They want you to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve too? And we all know workers are afraid to say no. They might get fired for speaking up.
And to those people who shop on those days with their hollow-faced consumerism, you are creating a precedent that will bite you in the ass too. Even if you are never asked to work on these holidays, because you have enough clout to avoid the assumption, your college aged kids won't be so lucky. Your siblings might not be so lucky. Your mother or father who has to go back to work, when the Dems bargain SSN away might not be so lucky.
And when you look at all the junk in your house, a house that is devoid of family and friends, because, hey! They are all working--you will have no one to thank but yourself.
Holidays are a time of remembrance, of reconnecting, of building new family connections; they are a time of sharing, and of having fun hopefully. When we deprive ourselves of these traditions, we deprive ourselves of the feeling of tradition. We are giving away our sense of history, and we are cutting at our own roots. We weaken our families and communities with what is essentially a bad trade.
In the long run such a trade has been and will be even more disastrous. I hope more people say no to these ridiculous shopping nights, until finally the big bosses get it through their thick skulls that this is not profitable, nor is it proper.