My Father used to love Thanksgiving. It was for him the one one holiday that was not corrupted by silly sales, and endless machinations of marketers. It was just a time when family gathered, stores were closed and there wasn’t much the marketers could do to mess with our minds.
But as you know, the “sanctuary” of Thanksgiving, has been steadily eroded in the past ten years with the depressing and even tragic spectacle of “Black Friday.” What an awful thing it has become in recent years to see people lining up through the middle of the night to stampede into stores. Not only are there terse interactions, but also physical altercations, even a few deaths a couple years back as a stampede occurred (as I recall for some stupid doll that was the rage that year).
This year the erosion of Thanksgiving took a major chunk of territory as many stores announced that they would open on the evening of Thanksgiving. A sadly, for many shoppers who seem to suffer from some definite signs of addiction, this means Thanksgiving is all but gone since they feel compelled to stand in line for hours to be among the first to make the hideous rush into the store for some miserable gadget. It is a sad spectacle, so very sad.
I expect someone to write in her defending the practice and announcing that some very good deals are to be had. But honestly, is it worth it to see a decent holiday eroded by this? And I wonder too how standing in line for six hours to save a few bucks is really saving anything at all. For me, time is very valuable, time with family is valuable, yes time is precious. I dunno, called unsold on the “deals” that are available.
Black Friday got its name because this was the weekend when many retailers finally saw the ink on their ledgers go from red (deficit) to black (profit). But Black Friday is now earning a new reputation as it manifests the darker side our our nature.
Mind you, I am not calling for some new “law” and for government to “do something.” Marketers are free to open their establishments and people are free to shop as they please.
But I share a memory in my Father’s honor (may he rest in peace), that, once upon a time there was a holiday in America that was uncommercialized, a holiday that was just about family, and gratitude, just about simple togetherness. Yes, once upon a time, in an America increasingly far, far away.