Pass (on) the buzzard, please

They all swore they wouldn’t do it.

Every one of my friends and co-workers said nope, no way, not a chance. The big-box stores could stay open as long as they wanted to today, Thanksgiving Day, but no one I know planned to succumb to the crass lure of commercialism.

If everyone else does the same, the retailers will realize they’ve trod on sacred ground–a family holiday–and won’t try it again next year.

I don’t even understand the thrill of Black Friday. Jammed parking lots, long lines, frenzied dashes to the big ticket items,  carts piled with Stuff and the race to be the one to provide the most “desirable” gifts under the tree. (Desirable as defined by the latest marketing strategy.) Commercialism at its very worst.

But, at least Black Friday is a personal preference on a day a lot of people have off work–except for the poor retail workers. If they want to spend it that way rather than relaxing at home, well, there’s no accounting for taste.

But this open-all-day-Thanksgiving thing is just plain evil. For those shopaholics who can’t resist, it’s like pouring a glass of Scotch and setting it in front of an alcoholic. For those people who look at shopping like a competitive sport, it’s like pointing them in the direction of a starting line and yelling “go!” The poor things just aren’t going to try very hard to resist, even if the family holiday suffers. Not least of all are the employees who get sucked into this diabolical plan with no say in the matter.

Even a simple holiday dinner for two–and the camaraderie that follows–is worth staying home for. –Photo by George Sawyn

Families should be cooking together in the kitchen, or kicked back in the living room, retelling those horrible old family stories and filling up on hors d’oeuvres, while Mom hollers, “Don’t eat too much or you’ll ruin your appetite!” They should be playing Scrabble or, if the weather cooperates, playing football in the yard. They should be waiting for the food to make a second round in the evening, while a favorite movie plays on TV or family photos are passed around.

NO ONE should be heading out the door to go shopping!

Are retailers really trying to redefine a family holiday? Are they so greedy that they have to steal from precious family time, which suffers enough these days? And are we really so financially desperate that we have to leave our holiday homes for the sake of a bargain? If people short-changed family get-togethers with an overindulgence of church activities, they’d be called religious fanatics, but worshiping at the altar of consumerism, even at the expense of family, is all the rage.

Or so the retailers’ campaign strategy would have us believe. Maybe, if I and my friends are any indication, this latest, blatant marketing ploy will fall on its face. Maybe the stores will be empty of all but the poor, coerced employees; maybe the “bargains” will sit on the shelves until tomorrow–and, miracle of miracles, there will still be enough to go around. And just maybe, if we’re lucky, they won’t try this again next year.

But if we allow Black Friday to become Black Thursday, we might as well replace the Thanksgiving turkey with a vulture.


About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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4 Responses to Pass (on) the buzzard, please

  1. Kay Krause says:

    Maybe we could start a nationwide sit out from shopping on Thanksgiving. If it becomes fashionable then everyone will go for that and stop shopping.

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