Thanksgiving and Shopping

I am all for not shopping on Thanksgiving.  I think it’s a shame that stores are open and people have to work.  If I had my way, certain holidays would be holy (If I really had my way, I’d have a weekly, secular sabbath).  Everything would be closed and no one would have to work.  I don’t mean holy in the religious sense.  Rather I mean it in the sense that the day itself is important, more important than business.  My vote would be to designate July 4th, Election Day, Thanksgiving, and New Years as America’s Holy Days.  However, I don’t get all preachy about this.  I’d like to explain why.

The big reason I refrain from preachiness is that I recognize that we don’t live in a world where I get my way.  There is simply too much momentum behind the 24 hours a day 365 days a year economy to make radical changes.  And the changes would have to be radical.  I can complain all I want that Sears shouldn’t be open on Thanksgiving.  The problem is that if Sears listened to me, they would just lose a lot of money to one of their competitors that didn’t listen to me.  In order for this kind of change to matter, it has to be adopted by everyone.  And the only way that would happen is to have the government demand it.  That would be a radical change.  So, I’m not preachy because I can’t blame Sears for working within the system that they find themselves in.

Another reason I’m not preachy about my beliefs is I’ve thought about the consequences of really following through on respecting the holiness of holidays.  It’s one things to say Walmart and Target shouldn’t open because their workers deserve a day off.  But, on pain of being inconsistent, that also means that movie theaters should be closed and professional sports should be cancelled.  There would be no running to the convenience store for last minute supplies or eating at a restaurant.  TV and the internet would be limited to things that could be cued up automatically – no more live coverage of the parade.  Trains, planes, and buses would be still and hotels would be empty.  The only people that would work are emergency personnel – police, fire, ER nurses, etc., and they should be paid a lot extra for their trouble.  I am OK with this.  I think the idea of a quiet day spent with family is nice.  But, I’m quite sure many others, even many of those who have to work on Thanksgiving, think quite differently.

As I said at the beginning, I am all for not shopping on Thanksgiving.  But, I would urge people to think about their outrage towards retailers.  If a person won’t go to JC Penny on Thanksgiving because it isn’t fair to the workers, I hope that person doesn’t stop by Dunkin for a coffee or fill up at the gas station.  I hope that person doesn’t go see a movie.  And I especially hope that person doesn’t do any online shopping since it is the internet that really pressures the brick and mortar stores to open on Thanksgiving.

 

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