A few years ago, one could predict this inevitability. The creeping vine known as “Black Friday” was going to move out of its boundaries and begin to strangle one of the few remaining uncontaminated holidays — Thanksgiving.
When I was still in retail, I remember feeling the nudge of insatiable commercialism as I spent the fourth Thursday of November 2004 glancing at my watch periodically instead of concentrating on the food and fellowship of that day. And that was for just a 5:45AM start the next workday! Soon, a competitor decided to open at 4:00 which encouraged others to begin at 3:00, then the feared jump to midnight and earlier.
Now employers think it’s perfectly reasonable and certainly justifiable to treat Thanksgiving Day just like other disregarded days of rest and reflection like Memorial Day and Labor Day…. or, God forbid, the antiquated notion that Sundays had a purpose other than paying employees straight-time for missing church. I know, “we live in a very competitive economy” (yes, ongoing since at least the 1960’s). “If we don’t do it, everybody else will and we’ll lose our annual corporate largesse (bonus),” or something like that. There are myriads of other rationalizations.
I suppose the spending addicts bear some of the blame for the increasingly invasive store hours. After all, if nobody came, they wouldn’t open it. A Field of Pipe-Dreams, perhaps? Still, even though I’m in my 50s, I just can’t shake myself from some idealistic thoughts. If even a country as secular in its policies as Norway is can have few stores open on Sundays, is there a chance we could break the enslaving bonds of Christmas-getting (aka Holiday-greedings) and return to a little more normalcy?
George Washington set aside this day for giving thanks to God whom we have since pushed out of our public awareness. We need to adjust our values and start remembering that “we didn’t build it” (you almost got it right, Mr. President), but God built it!