Friday, November 27, 2015

Light's Out - It's Not Black Friday

With people camping out for hours in the cold and mobs pushing through their fellow crazed shoppers on well-planned store routes, the day after Thanksgiving has become no better than a mouse maze teasing consumers with their prized cheese at the end.  This nationally acclaimed day has garnered more attention and recognition than the actual holiday it follows.  In fact, advertisement clippings that usually broadcast all of the products and decorations associated with the upcoming holiday barely display any Thanksgiving decor; instead, the focus surrounding the words "Thanksgiving" includes deals, steals, freebies, and the most concerning enticement - the word "open". 

Each year, some stores try to lure consumers away from their business competition by using popular tactics such as opening the store early.  At first, as soon as the clock struck midnight, all the Cinderellas and Cinderfellas would kick off both of their shoes while charging wallets-first into the freshly open stores.  Unfortunately, midnight on Friday must have been too late of a start.  Stores were probably concerned about their customers, wriggling in bed while suffering from their inability to sleep due to anticipation of the new TVs and sweaters that awaited their hard-earned money.  To minimize consumer distress, some stores compassionately decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  I mean, what other evidence would these stores provide in argument of demanding their employees to pound away at the registers instead of spending time with their family members and friends?  Greed, money, and competition certainly would not power this decision, right?

I could get into the whole argument that the upcoming holidays and life, in general, are not about consumerism or materialism, but that is beside the point here.  My concern and genuine sadness revolves around the ease of and willingness to separate people from their families and loved ones, seemingly without any empathy or second thought.  Consumerism has gained more value than time.         
Whether or not Thanksgiving is justly celebrated (that is a whole other issue), this is a national holiday that most people get time off for.  Students are home from school; many parents, besides those sacrificing time for the safety and wellbeing of others, are free from their duties at work.  In general, schedules actually overlap and many entire families have the opportunities to gather.  However, just by being open, stores downplay these experiences of togetherness.  Memories that could be made around dinner tables and between siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles will be dominated by visions of crazed customers arguing over the latest doll.

Of course, some people depend on overtime pay earned from working on this holiday, but there has to be a point where money and buying goods does not surpass the importance and worth of spending time with family.  In an instant, a loved one could be gone and not one single dollar or possession will bring them back.  Time is so fickle and precious; the ability to decide its use is a rarity.  

Now, stores cannot be solely blamed for this discouraging manipulation of time.  Consumers who willingly waste their time off by shopping on Thanksgiving, fueling the stores' decision, are just as much at fault for keeping family members away from each other.  However, with their amassed followings and supporters, stores have a powerful influence over the general public.  All of the businesses associated with this industry can use their strong voice to illustrate the importance of family time over material desire just by keeping their doors closed on one day. 

This year, I applaud all of the stores and businesses that gave thanks to their employees by allowing them to spend Thanksgiving at home.  These stores rely on people buying their product, but even they realized that their store's service is not as important as the service that family members can provide each other.

In hopes that others will follow their example in future years, let us commend the following stores and others that adhered to timeless values of love, devotion, commitment and sacrifice by staying closed on Thanksgiving:    
  • A.C. Moore
  • American Girl Place
  • Babies "R" Us
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Big 5 Sporting Goods
  • BJ's Wholesale Club
  • Burlington Coat Factory
  • Cabela's
  • Christopher and Banks
  • Costco
  • Crate & Barrel
  • Dillard's
  • DSW
  • Fred Meyer
  • Fred's
  • GameStop
  • Golf Galaxy
  • Half Price Books
  • Harbor Freight
  • H-E-B Stores
  • H&M
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Home Depot
  • Home Goods
  • Ikea
  • Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • Lowe's
  • Mattress Firm
  • Menards
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom
  • Patagonia
  • P.C. Richard & Son
  • PepBoys
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Publix Super Market
  • Raymour & Flanigan
  • REI
  • Sam's Club
  • Sportsman's Warehouse
  • Staples
  • Sur La Table
  • Talbot's
  • T.J. Maxx
  • Tractor Supply Co.
  • True Value

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