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AN OPEN LETTER TO RETAILERS

You won’t see me in your stores on Thanksgiving Day. And, because I have a little list of companies whose ethics do not meet my minimum standards, you won’t be seeing me the rest of the year, either.

Thanksgiving was one of the two holidays when there was not a sale. When everyone agreed that the place to be was at home, watching a parade or a game on TV, visiting with family and extended family, cooking a turkey, burning the marshmallow topping on the sweet potatoes, and explaining the meaning of Thanksgiving to the youngest kids. And yes, sometimes fighting over dumb stuff like who won the last Rose Bowl or the ill-considered practices of the International Monetary Fund.

Why do we have to abandon an American family tradition in favor of rushing out to a big store, fighting the crowds, desperately hunting for Christmas presents? Are we having Thanksgiving at McDonald’s this year, after we’ve run up the credit cards, exhausted ourselves and got a ding in the bumper in the WalMart parking lot? Of course, it could be worse. You could be assaulted in the WalMart parking lot by some other stressed out shopper who’s been whipped into a frenzy by corporate greed. Happy Thanksgiving.

Why this obsession with Christmas presents? And not with finding the perfect gift for the recipient. No, we’ve got to have the trendy gift, the gift that shows we’re successful—we must be, right? because it’s an expensive gift (or would be, if we hadn’t got up early to rush to WalMart or some other trash emporium to get the super-duper special low Thanksgiving Day price—hurry, hurry, only 5 of these in stock! Or any gift at all—because shopping is so stressful and such a bore, and we can get Aunts Ruby, Joanna, Emma and Verna one of these polyester sweaters,  because they live in different parts of the country and will never know they all got the same thing. That’s four gifts taken care of, just like that. Is it Emma who hates green or is it Joanna? It doesn’t matter. She can always return it. Parenthetically, I will add that in fact those sweaters will end up in the local thrift store, with the tag still in place. So will the cool electric wonton maker you saw on one of those cooking shows and gave to your mother-in-law, who hates Chinese food and doesn’t cook if she can avoid it.
And the kids! They’ll be scarred for life if they don’t get that new game console this year, and never mind if you’re still paying the credit card bill next August. Giving them everything they ask for (because they’ve seen the ads on TV) proves you love them, doesn’t it?

Ummmm. No.

I have nothing against giving gifts at Christmas or Solstice or any other time. But I hate the culture of greed that tries to make us think we must buy more, more, more, and heaven forbid we should ask ourselves why. And if we let this slide, if we buy into the advertising-created hysteria, and shop on Thanksgiving Day, these stores will be open on Christmas Day—for that last minute gift! So you can exchange something you didn’t like that same day! So those retailers can wring another few million out of us.
WalMart was already on my list of places never to shop (bad employment and outsourcing practices which are helping to destroy our economy), but now Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Target, KMart and all the others who are open on Thanksgiving can also count me out. I’ll be cooking a free-range turkey, watching a video and sipping champagne in a holiday stress-free zone.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Some of these stores are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arizonablue

    only open until the late afternoon, so the employees can then go home to their celebrations. The day of Thanksgiving I've always felt was pretty boring, so I've always liked working during the day (usually at time and a half!) as long as I got off in time for dinner. I think there's probably a lot of people who feel that way. So I don't really get upset at businesses that stay open (as long as they don't stay open late and require employees to work all those hours). I think that's rare, by the way.

    •  Unfortunately, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      belinda ridgewood

      not all employees have the option of volunteering.

      Plus, making the big dinner usually requires hours of preparation and cooking time, and there are people who enjoy spending time with their children for the parade and watching the games with their families and making the meal.

      •  There are specific stories you hear (0+ / 0-)

        about an employee who wants off badly but is forced to work. But in my experience the only people that are forced to work holidays at most of these places are the newbies who don't have seniority. So even for them, it's only a matter of time until they can pick their holidays. And there of course are also all those people who want to work on holidays. So I think that dislike of all businesses that are open for their customers on a holiday is misplaced.

        •  Well, growing up, I was one of those fortunate (0+ / 0-)

          individuals who had to work Thanksgiving, because of my seniority, and because I worked for a company which closed by one day a year, namely Christmas Day.

          It sucks, and it is unnecessary, period. There are plenty of other days to be open, hawk products, service others or whatever else you want to call it. All of these places can afford to close down for the day.

          And, if you find the holiday boring till dinner, you can always go volunteer at a homeless shelter to see if you can't help others have some dignity on that day. It's not only something to do, you'll feel better because of it.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

          by achronon on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 04:35:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But it's not up to you to decide (0+ / 0-)

            for all of those who are happy to work on the holiday. We're not all the same person.

            •  No, it is not up to me to decide, (0+ / 0-)

              but if you would not like me deciding for you, why do you think that it's OK for an employer to decide for his employee, especially when it's not necessary?

              That logic works both ways.

              None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

              by achronon on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:31:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  That's exactly right. (3+ / 0-)

    If enough people boycott Thanksgiving stores, maybe they won't do it again next year.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 04:30:16 PM PST

  •  I am planning on going to Target (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, achronon

    on Thanksgiving because I need to get some stuff for TG dinner and I don't have a freezer or a very big fridge.

    I'm also going to go to Safeway to get a pie (same reason).

    I'm also of the opinion that putting one day aside for Family Tradition is sick. Every day/every dinner should be Family Tradition. When one day is set aside for such a thing, we all lose.

    But, that's my opinion and you are welcome to ignore me.

    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

    by woolibaar on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 04:56:00 PM PST

    •  I have very mixed feelings (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arizonablue

      Personally, I think this massive consumerist free-for-all around Thanksgiving is for the birds. But I have to remember, others seem to thoroughly enjoy the melee.

      I am filled with righteous indignation about the shell games some merchants are playing. (Example - WalMart promises extra pay for working the holiday, but deeply cuts hours in the days before and after the holiday, so the worker ends up with less actual income) At the same time, some employers are not so abusive and their workers do get extra pay above and beyond - and some would prefer to be working than being alone or with a disfunctional family or grieving a death or broken relationship.

      Despite your point, which is essentially every day should be about family, it is true that for many extended families travelling from near, or far, it's not possible to get the whole family together on some random Tuesday. Historically, it has been possible on Thanksgiving or Christmas days. That said, the whole "some days should be protected from commerical exploitation, and allowing people to have time with their families" is - word for word - the argument used by the right in the fights to keep blue laws and other limits on Sunday business activity intact.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 05:57:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I like that the day is called Thanksgiving, (0+ / 0-)

      not Family Tradition Day.

      I couldn't agree with you more that if the only reason one celebrates is because that's what one does on this day, then let's just let it go.

      Still, I believe that giving thanks is cool and I'm all excited about having one day in the year, to celebrate, where no presents, no fancy celebrations, no extraneous whatever is involved. All we have to do, whether we have a big or small dinner, whether we have turkey or tofu, whether we like it or not, is be thankful.

      There's always the option, of course, of taking the whole family down to the local homeless shelter to help those who don't have the option. You can bet, they will all be thankful for that.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      by achronon on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 04:41:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I opted out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    achronon

    of the whole charade long ago. As soon as someone can detail the procedure required to send Jesus a nice chocolate fudge cake and a bottle of Napa's finest cabernet for his real birthday, I'll do some shopping. But Thanksgiving is a holiday better spent with friends and family on the Los Coyotes Cahuilla reservation. Pretty sure Jesuchristo would be cool with that.

  •  Thanks for your first diary/comment, KathleenB. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arizonablue, Catte Nappe
    Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.


    Shop Kos Katalogue ❧ Help Okiciyap at Cheyenne River reservation.

    by belinda ridgewood on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 06:30:02 PM PST

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