I have run around in mental triangles for days now, trying to think of something new to write about and post. I believe the creativity center of my brain is pretty rusty and has a bunch of dust-bunnies and cobwebs that need to be cleaned out. I’m not a self-motivated cleaner, so it is taking awhile to figure out when I am having an actual idea, or just mental acid reflux. But I came across this news item yesterday and it keeps playing in my head and I have decided it is an idea. Let me know if you agree, or if I should look into some cerebral prilosec.
A petition has been started on the website change.org by a young man named Anthony Hardwick, asking that Target NOT open at midnight on Black Friday. I just signed it myself. I have had my own personal share of working on holidays, and I understand the frustration of not being able to share a family holiday with family. Yes, there are some jobs that can not stop or be put on hold for some turkey and pie. We still need emergency services. But this isn’t about saving lives. This is about the retail mantra of “if you sell it, they will come. . . regardless of the hour.”
” Unhappy workers who say it ruins their Thanksgiving celebrations are trying to persuade companies to back off, but retailers say they’re stuck: It’s what customers want. . .Retailers say they’re responding to consumer demand for an ever-earlier start to the holiday shopping season. A National Retail Federation survey last year shows that the number of shoppers who flocked to stores opening at midnight following the Thanksgiving feast tripled in 2010 from 2009″ (Associated Press).
It’s what we want? Really?? We want to sacrifice family time on a holiday so that we can trek around town in the middle of the night to get “really good deals” on over-priced merchandise that we are going to turn around and give to the family that we just dissed? We want to scrimp and pinch for weeks or months so that we can afford to plan and prepare the perfect family Thanksgiving, either traveling to see others or having others traveling to see us. We stress ourselves out finding the perfect turkey, arguing over whose family traditions to follow, or who makes a better pumpkin pie. We stay up late, really late for a few nights so that everything is timed just right to enjoy the best feast that has ever been eaten. Some of us slave for at least 12 hours straight, on our feet, cooking and baking, and cleaning and preparing for a few hours around the same table with the people who mean the most to us. And retailers are telling us that a couple hundred dollars in savings is worth more to us than those couple of hours. Are they right???
I don’t think they’re right. I think that we the consumer have forgotten the power we have in this materialized, capitalistic, free-market society in which we all live. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated into believing that we follow trends and not the trends following us. We ARE the Jones’! And we keep trying to keep up with ourselves because Wal-Mart, Macy’s, and BestBuy tell us to!! We have gotten carried away and we have lost ourselves and what is really important.
If we didn’t get up and drag ourselves out at midnight this year what would happen? Welllll . . . since the stores need our money more than we really need their products, I am confident that between now and Christmas we would see an awful lot of price slashing. If I got absolutely nothing for Christmas this year, not even a lump of coal in my stocking, I would still wake up the next morning and have a life. If not one person bought one thing from any of these stores next friday, those stores could not say the same thing. It would put jobs at risk and it would be very bad for the retail industry. And if everyone got up at a normal hour and headed out for holiday shopping deals when it was convenient for them? I would predict that next year there would be a lot less stores opening up at ungodly hours.
And On a last note . . .