We are coming upon one of the biggest American Holidays of the year. Not 4th of July, that was months ago. Valentines, no, not that. This is a day that has eclipsed Thanksgiving and absorbed Christmas like some sort of alien parasite. It is the day known as “Black Friday.”
While the origins of the name are unclear, one thing is. It is the busiest shopping day of the year. People are encouraged to go out and buy as much as they can at low prices. They will do anything for the big deals. People have been trampled to death, as well as shot and stabbed by chaotic customers.
Each year these sales seem to begin sooner and sooner, and many major retailers made waves this year by announcing they would be opening before midnight on Thanksgiving. Earliest time was 8, latest was 9. This has led to complaints from not only employees, but customers as well.
Among the complaints is that it is eating into the family celebrations. Some point out that other jobs like police, fire, medical and even gas stations are open. However, others are quick to point out, those are essentials. A department store is not. You don’t need to taze somebody for an X-Box at 9:00 at night on Thanksgiving, but I can tell you that the doctors and nurses at the hospital are needed for more than just that.
The other reason people feel so upset about it, is it is inflating greed and commercialism, especially when Thanksgiving is a day for being grateful and saying thanks. The fact is, we need a day like that. We need a day where we stop and count our blessings and say thanks. We become so preoccupied with “gimee” and “Getting” we forget to express a little gratitude.
In fact it seems that the earlier and earlier the commercial aspects of Christmas begin the more angry and jaded people become about the season. Many people end up becoming like Dr. Seuss immortal character the Grinch. Bombarded by all the noise and the trimmings, trappings, boxes and bags, it just becomes too much.
Are you married? Be grateful that you have someone to spend your life with. DO you have friends, the kind that will stand beside you not matter what? Do you have children? Do you have a family to spend the holidays with? There are plenty of things to be grateful for and we need to set that time aside to remember those things.
After all, once New Year’s comes around and we find ourselves regretting not the things we did, but what we didn’t do. We won’t say to ourselves, “Man, I should have gotten in line at 5 PM to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving to buy stuff”. We won’t say, “Man I should have punched that goram idiot in the face for swiping the last shiny Blu-Ray copy of Marvel’s The Avengers ( complete with 3-D, DVD, and digital copy) that the store had”. We’ll wish we had spent more time with the people we loved and that we did more to make the world a better place.
That’s what holidays are really for. Spending time with those we love, making the world a better place in some small way, and taking time to say “thank you”, not just once or twice a year, but every day of the year. No doubt many of my readers plan to go Black Friday shopping. If that’s the case, as a former retail worker, I ask you to keep these things in mind. First, it’s just stuff, don’t assault or kill any one over it. Second even if you don’t get what you most want, remember that you may find something better. Third, please be nice. That means, smile, say “please” and “thank you”, especially to those working.
Finally, remember what The Grinch learned in that classic Holiday tale. As we all know, he went down to Whoville and stole all the Christmas stuff from the Whos. Just as he was about to dump it all off the cliff he could hear the people of Whoville singing as he hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming. He learned that day that,
“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe, Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”