Once again, it has been a long time between posts, and for this I apologize. But lets face it: this working girl can’t hang. Yes, it’s true! After what felt like an eternity of job hunting, I finally found a job! It’s a great gig with a great company; I mean, how many companies buy each of their employees a pie for Thanksgiving?! I’m definitely not complaining: pie and the holidays, two of my favorite things! In my opinion, something changes when the clock strikes midnight on October 31st. The air becomes cooler, the people become happier, and the lights glow a little warmer and brighter. That’s when you know: holiday is upon us.
I love everything about the holidays: the decorations, the music, the movies, the clothes. I’m an even bigger fan of the holidays now that I can actually celebrate them! The biggest downside to having a big girl 8:30am – 5pm (most days) job is that I’m always tired. And by tired I mean I come home and by 7pm I’m ready for bed. The nice thing, however, about finally leaving the retail life behind is that I actually get to spend the holidays with my family. For the first time in four years, I get to have a proper Thanksgiving dinner with all my family and not have to worry about what time I have to eat so that I can shower and be at work with enough time to make a quick coffee run beforehand. My happiness of celebrating with my family is short-lived though, as the thought of many of my friends having to miss Thanksgiving dinner and time with their family and friends sticks in the back of my mind.
Growing up, Thanksgiving was always about celebrating the people and moments in our lives, and being able to cherish the time we have had together. It was a time of stealing bites from the pan and watching football games and putting up Christmas decorations. Unfortunately, it seems that now Thanksgiving is about how quickly we can finish our meals so that we can make it to the stores in time, all to take advantage of sales that, believe it or not, have probably been unchanged since the beginning of the week.
I get it. Some big ticket items, such as electronics or appliances, are actually cheaper on Black Friday. I can understand stores opening at midnight, or even 11pm on Thanksgiving, to allow consumers to take advantage of these discounted prices. However, it is absolutely appalling to me that stores now not only open on Thanksgiving day, but many require that their employees work on Black Friday (i.e.: Brown Thursday) or be terminated. How did we as a society decide that it was okay to be thankful for all the people and memories we have in our lives, only to storm the store gates earlier and earlier each year, demanding that they be opened so we can find things to be thankful for the next year?
I will never, ever be okay with the concept of a store opening before 11pm on Thanksgiving day, and will definitely never be okay with an entity forcing a person to choose between their job and spending time with their loved ones. I understand that there are many who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and would much rather be at work making money. Still, I don’t think the idea that a person has at least three days of the year guaranteed off (Christmas and New Years are holidays too!) is a horrible one. Cherish the time you have with your family, because who knows when society will see fit to do away with Christmas and New Years as holidays as well.
For those of my friends who choose to partake in Brown Thursday and Black Friday shopping, I ask that you remember this: those people who are working – who you are yelling at and swearing at and complaining to – are missing the opportunity to be with their family and friends in order to cater to your needs. Before you complain about the long lines or the item that is out of stock or the Christmas music, remember that the employees have to deal with those complaints a hundred times over. Believe it or not, store employees do not control the prices of the products. They do not control what inventory is and is not in the storage room. They do not control the incessant, looping holidy music. They do not control the number of special door-buster items that are provided. What they do control to the best of their ability, however, is their temper when a customer is unruly. They control their line when it gets out of hand, in order to best serve the next customer. They control their emotions, when children and adults alike tear at the store like a caged animal that has been freed. And most importantly, they control their caffeine intake so as to stay awake for the six, eight, ten, or twelve (or even longer) hour shift they have to work.
These employees go to work, some as early as Thanksgiving morning, knowing that while others are enjoying a nice meal and wonderful company, they are missing out. With a smile on their face, they watch the hordes come into their stores, earlier and earlier each year, tearing apart fixtures and tables, all to get that sweater that will in all honestly most likely be cheaper the next week. So please, before you go Brown Thursday or Black Friday shopping, hug your loved ones a little tighter and think about all the people and places and memories,good and bad, that you have experienced in the last year, and realize that it’s those things, not the clothes or games or things, that have made our lives special. But if you must go shopping, then do it with a smile. Spread some happiness and joy, and realize that you didn’t draw the short straw. Most importantly, go with the realization that eventually, we will simply be wishing each other a “Happy Fourth Thursday of November!”, and appreciate the memories of a true Thanksgiving while you can.