Don’t be a Grinch this Thanksgiving!

Recently, employees of Walmart, Sears and Target were outraged when their companies decided to open stores to the public as early as 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Apparently, being with family and friends for some quality time and gravy-soaked turkey is now trumped by a shopper’s right to buy the  blue light special of a camouflage Forever Lazy at a steep discount.

I think this is a good thing. Why make people wait until midnight to shop for gifts they can’t afford for people that won’t appreciate them? Why not move everything ahead a day? Why bother celebrating Thanksgiving at all?

I think rushing things is the way to go. Any fool knows life is only about quantity not quality. We need these few extra hours on Black Thursday/Friday so we can finally attempt to fully stuff the bottomless pits of our psyches with endless amounts of iPad minis and Applebee’s gift cards.

Besides, how else am I supposed to top my credit card debt from last year?

Why waste out lives on silly things like being with each other, making memories or sharing love and laughter? It’s all about the goods, baby. Bring on the material crap. More! More! More! It’s what makes the world go ’round. (Or what keeps the bigwigs at these monster box store companies filthy rich while their employees get paid minimum wage.)  And it’s never enough, you just gotta keep buying, buying, buying. Why, I’ve already bought my gifts for the next ten Christmases!

So what the hell, let’s just cut to the chase and shift everything ahead. To what really matters most. Money and things.

This could work in so many other areas in life.

WEDDINGS

“I know pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the br—”

“Wait! Hold up. I want divorce. Also the house and the car. You get to keep your stupid golf clubs.”

“Hmm…. Fair deal. Done.”

****

BABIES

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you have a beautiful baby boy!”

“Oh, he’s amazing! And sweetie? Did you remember to put him on the waiting list for Harvard? He’s going to be the most incredible cardiac surgeon and help us sail into early retirement!
Ka-ching! Now, why are you just standing there? Go sign him up for cello and Chinese lessons so he’ll have an edge with admissions!”

****

DATING

“Well, hello there…. I’ve heard so many nice things about you. So tell me, what’s your favorite music?”

“Look. Let’s cut the crap. In about three years, you’ll cheat on me and I’ll kick you out of our apartment, right after throwing your iPod out the window. So here, just take this 100 bucks now,  so we can call it even and end this. Right after I finish eating my chicken parm. Deal?”

****

DEATH

“Mrs. Smith, I am terribly sorry to inform you, but you only have six to twelve  months to live.”

“Good.”

“I’m sorry? Good?”

“Oh yeah! That’s plenty of time for me to convince the funeral home to give me a cemetery plot discount at 25%. Maybe they’ll double my savings if I get one for my husband, too!  By the way….does he happen to have any terminal illnesses?”

“Uh…no….”

“Damn. We could have saved so much money.”

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110 thoughts on “Don’t be a Grinch this Thanksgiving!

  1. I think you’ve got it all figured out there, Darlarific. Screw nursing . . . I see financial planning in your future. That’s where all the money is anyway, right? Who needs to help sick people. I say, help RICH people!! Much more satisfying work.

    1. Totally. I don’t know what came over me this morning. I read that article I linked to and I just got so worked up. Might be because I used to work in retail for years and years? And the only days we were guaranteed to have off were Thanksgiving and Christmas. I foresee Christmas being the next holiday to be passed over for shopping.

    1. Yeah, I think we should just skip ahead to the good old diamond anniversary. That’s where all the bling bling is! Because it’s all about the money. Then we die and guess what? Money doesn’t come with us. Too bad.

  2. Gets scary doesn’t it – wish there was a backlash and people would just not go out on Thanksgiving and buy stuff–in Canada we do not have an official black Friday–but because we are so aligned with our neighbour, we pretend that we do. This was a great post — love your scenarios–people should take them seriously, though I know your tongue was planted in your cheek, you are still getting a message across

    1. I get so tired of the hype this time of year. I understand people want to save money and I’m all for keeping the economy going, but really…can’t we wait just a few HOURS until Thanksgiving is over? I almost didn’t post this one because I think my bitterness about the whole entire shopping experience would be too much bah humbug.

    1. The gift-giving thing is really out of hand. My husband and I haven’t bought each other gifts in years and years. We get our kids a small amount and they are happy. And we’re not in debt up our wazoos. We like to do things like make memories, play games, be with each other. I know in the future I won’t remember the presents I got more than the times I had with my family.

  3. I quit my retail job when they refused to let me visit family even though I had already bought plane tickets way in advance. And it is a good thing I did because a year after that my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Spending time with family versus being forced to work early to help people become further materialistic?

    Also, love the scenarios. Should have done that on my wedding day… Oh well. We will see if we can go against the odds and just stay married. :p

    1. See, you understand because you’ve worked in retail. How shameful they didn’t want you to visit your family. But it’s all about the bottom line, money.

      This is a sore spot for me because I worked in retail all through high school and college, over 10 years. We had to come into work every Black Friday at 5 am or we were fired. We had to work every Christmas Eve. Shouldn’t that be enough? I mean, these employees deserve to be home with their families at least through the entire Thanksgiving dinner, it’s ridiculous to me.

      1. It’s pretty crappy. :/ And not only that, but every year people always die because of greed. Like the man who had a heart attack in the Target last year? And people stepped over him to get a sale item instead of trying to help him.

        Working in retail really sucks for college kids because retail is most likely to hire but they really aren’t understanding to kids that live far away. They end up not getting to go home at all for the holidays because they need the money for school.

        1. Oh yes, I remember that awful story about the man dying. Disgusting. I just don’t get it. Our priorities are so skewed now.

          And about the college kids, that’s exactly it. They are stuck because they need that money, the paltry 7 bucks and hour Target pays you. Or you’ll be fired if you go home for the holidays. Most people don’t have the luxury of not having a job. These companies really have people between a rock and a hard place.

          1. Yay corporate world! And it really would not be the end of the world is Black Friday was moved… or having big time sales that last a whole week after Thanksgiving… it is something that could be changed but instead… they think Thanksgiving dinner should become a Football tailgating party out in a retail parking lot. Nothing says family like freezing outside waiting for doors to open so you can all stampede in like wildebeests!

    1. I hear you, Nicole! My kids are getting a small amount of gifts and my husband and I don’t even exchange gifts anymore. The rest of the family gets homemade picture frames with the kids’ school photos in them.

      And really, what can top a hug and a kiss? I would think that is all anyone could ever ask for, being surrounded by people you love. Once when I was a kid, we had this massive Christmas (my dad got a bonus at work) and they went out and bought mountains of presents for us kids. And I felt so guilty for weeks afterward. I didn’t enjoy these things as much as I thought I would. They didn’t make me happy like I thought they would. A valuable lesson for me as a kid.

  4. I despise what’s being done to Thanksgiving, even more than what’s happened to Christmas. What could be a more perfect holiday that a moment to stop and reflect on what’s good in one’s life and the things you have to be thankful for? And to deliberately destroy that for the reality TV spectacle of false sales?

    Okay, I’ll stop. I get a little crazed about it. Maybe I should save my insane rant for my own blog…

  5. Ha! Oh DP, satire looks GOOD on you. This was fantastic.

    Having said that, this whole shopping on Thanksgiving business is REPULSIVE. I’m so close to a nervous breakdown as it is, that the thought of tons of stores open on Thanksgiving -an excuse to take a breather and relax with/be thankful for family- is giving me heart palpitations.

    1. THis was satire? Oh. Cool! I had to put the tag ‘sarcasm’ up there, in case some people might think I was being serious with my rant. Although I was dead serious about getting a divorce in the middle of wedding vows. Think of all the time and energy and money we’d all save!

      Yes, I have a nervous breakdown just thinking about shopping for my kids this Christmas. Jim actually enjoys Black Friday. He likes it! He loves to stand out there in line in the cold so he can score a Spaceballs DVD half off! (I think he’s purposefully trying to avoid being with his in-laws….)

  6. I know why they do it (besides profit of course) is to curb some of the insanity as they open the stores at 4 AM and people trample each other to death. It’s still stupid. Most of the deals are not that fabulous anyway. There’s a few, sure, but they’re going to be snapped up before you can get there, and it’s not worth it. If you watch, you can see better deals before and after both holidays. For instance, at Target they talk about this big “door buster” special on Wii remotes – 39 bucks. That’s what they are EVERY SINGLE DAY. But if you don’t shop there, you don’t know that. I shop around, and I saw that last year when I bought the kids the game system (after it had been marked way down because it’s not the best new thing anymore), and they’re doing the same thing this year. Unbelievable.

    Yes, I think those people do deserve a holiday. I’ve never had to work at a retail store like that, and I am incredibly thankful. Just serving coffee at the library is annoying enough. I can’t imagine standing on my feet all day for minimum, especially during holiday season. Makes you sick.

    1. Yes, see now they can have their trampling and chaos at 8 pm instead of 4 am. Everyone will be that much more energetic and well-rested so they can all race to the stack of iPads faster. And you’re right, there is plenty of time and sales long after (and before) Black Friday. We can all get deals if we try. But really, my kids don’t even remember what they got last Christmas.

      I do remember the days of standing on my feet all day, it was brutal. And for 8 bucks an hour. I didn’t even mind working Black Friday, I understood that was the time for big sales. But I would have been livid if they wanted me to come in at 8 pm the night before. Not worth it to me.

  7. Well, I hate to be the wet blanket in this whole round, BUT.. (yeah, a BIG butt, just like mine) I spent 7 years working on Thanksgiving Day, keeping people’s credit cards buzzing. And my wife hasn’t had a Thanksgiving off since we moved down here. So if it weren’t for the shoppers, restaurant-goers, and Wal-Mart denizens, we’d be more broke than we are!
    BUT (yeah, don’t butts come in pairs?), I get the idea of family and limited commercialisation. We’d shift Thanksgiving to Friday to work around my support work, and the wife will go in later on Thanksgiving, so we’ll have part of the day. And I will NOT argue, in the LEAST, with delaying the holiday hype. My wife’s store was getting Christmas stuff ready to display while the Halloween stuff was still on the shelves! Jeez, one friggin’ holiday at a time! 😀

    1. I understand your point, John. I’ve worked retail for many years and my husband worked as a hotel supervisor and rarely had a holiday off. People do have to work still and it’s too bad.Some people want to work as they need the money. Still, others would prefer not to work on Thanksgiving and I think they should have the option not to. Plus, It would be nice, to have at least ONE 24 hour period where all the nonstop ‘buy, buy, buy’ and ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’ stopped. Just for one measly day. Oh, and the pushing of holidays are getting ridiculous like you said. I expect Easter candy to be out next week.

  8. I am with you one hundred percent. There is nothing in a store anywhere that needs to be purchased on Thanksgiving Day for a holiday that is a month away. And I don’t shop on the Friday after either. The pushing, shoving, rude people, lack of parking, etc. just sucks the joy out of shopping for heartfelt gifts for loved ones. It can wait.

    1. See, this is where my rant is coming from, Renee. I don’t like Black Friday. I hate shopping in general. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have ‘things’. I need to have certain things and I am like everyone else–materialistic–to an extent. But like you said, there is NOTHING that can’t wait one day. Let people be with their families. Be thankful for the simple things in life money can’t buy (I sound so cheesy, but it’s true)

    1. You’d think one day a year wouldn’t cause Walmart and other stores to crumble into ruins. I would think they’d survive. I know they’re trying to push sales but I think this is getting a bit of an overkill.

  9. I’m looking for the biggest fluffiest pillow to hide my head under.

    On the other hand, if I have to go to Target or Walmart on Thanksgiving Day, at least I will escape the vegan-vegetarian-militant-birdlover family member I cannot blog about. Come to think of it, being trampled doesn’t really sound all that bad!

    1. When you put it that way, you really have a good reason to brave the chaos and the crowds, Elyse. I think this may be why my husband insists on going shopping Black Friday. To get away from his family.

  10. Darla. Did anyone tell you that you are snarky? Well, you are. I think that going back to school has made you snarky. No, don’t bother to answer. I already know you are going to disagree and get all defensive but eventually come around and realize I was right. Then we’ll have a good laugh and you’ll slip into your plaid jacket and sip some coffee. How’d I do? 🙂

    1. Me? Snarky? say….whaaaa…?

      Yes. Yes I am. And OK…college has jaded me in ways I can’t go into now. I’m thinking of staging a protest tomorrow. Or a sit-in. Or a sleep-in? Yeah. I could do a sleep-in.

  11. winopants

    People who ditch their families to go shopping deserve what they get.
    What I feel bad about are the poor workers, they don’t have much choice in the matter

    1. That’s how I feel. Most of these workers get paid squat and have no benefits and no vacation time. So give them ONE day. Is that so hard? I feel for the ones that are working single moms or dads and need childcare overnight on Thanksgiving.

  12. I haven’t gone shopping on Black Friday since my mom used to drag me to holiday sales as a kid… The idea of pushing it back a day is even more horrifying. Plus, it will interrupt my pie eating. I’m extremely ambitious when it comes to eating pumpkin pie.

    1. See, you’re a woman after my own heart. I also love pie. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Why can’t we let them eat their damned pie for one day? Then let the craziness of Black Friday happen on the actual day of Friday.

      1. Exactly! Anyone who tries to interrupt pie-eating should have their own pie stolen.

        And the commercialization of absolutely everything is crazy. My own kids will open like ten gifts, on Easter no less, and then go, “That’s all?” Besides the fact that I did inside every time they say something like that, it’s just not the way holidays should be! It shouldn’t be about stuff, but the point gets lost when they’re surrounded by so much of it.

      2. That’s what I’m afraid of, my kids thinking it’s ONLY about getting things. It really is unbelievable, the commercialization of Christmas and now it’s spilling into Thankgsiving (and all the other holidays) I realize we all want stuff, it’s only human, but there has to be some limit. Otherwise we’ll spend our lives trying to fill that void with more iTunes gifts cards and yet wonder why we all still feel so unfulfilled in life. Maybe spend more time helping other people or making connections with your family and friends….things that really matter.

  13. While I love a bargain I don’t go to Black Friday sales because I’m such a loser I never get the great deal. someone is always faster and craftier than me and I wind up staring at an empty shelf.

    I’d rather be in bed!

    1. Yeah, I went shopping on Black Friday once during the height of the Tickle Me Elmo craze. I almost didn’t get back out of Toys R Us alive. (and was empty-handed to boot) That pretty much convinced me that shopping on Black Friday is a level lower than the third circle of hell.

  14. I don’t even want to talk about Wal-Mart right now. My hubby has to work Thanksgiving Day 7 am -4 pm and then 5 am – 2 pm on Black Friday. He will have to work Christmas day too. We were told we could get off to visit family the week before or after these holidays. We only got one day off instead of the requested three and they are dragging their feet in approving the after Christmas time off…which we need to buy tickets for still. Oy.

    This is a touchy subject for me. I think I shall just boycott Black Friday this year. :p

    1. I don’t blame you for feeling that way at all. I would think that your husband could get at least some more time off so you can travel to visit family. I realize retail you need to work holidays, but it’d be nice if they could rotate the employees so some have one holiday off and others have another holiday off.

      1. Nope. 😦 They expect everyone to work – although it does sound like Christmas will be abbreviated. Thanksgiving night at 8 pm is when the sales start. We got lucky – some of Ryan’s co-workers have to work 10 hours. :p And he does get holiday pay. Small blessings…

  15. Amen, sista! My sentiments exactly. The workers who have no choice and have to work instead of having time with family or whatever or however they choose to be thankful. I’m already getting stressed about the holidays and get togethers. It didn’t bother me as much years ago.
    I did one black friday shop – me, the person who hates to shop and always puts it off until the final hour. That experience was enough. I’d rather sleep in and have some ‘spicey coffee’ and watch old movies on Friday. And shop on Thanksgiving Day??? That’s just wrong on so many levels.

    Well said! Glad you posted!

  16. I’m soooo glad you posted this under the tag “sarcasm”, otherwise I wouldn’t have recognized the snarkiness. Carry on, Snarkla.

    ps I’m following in my big sista’s footsteps here – just like in real life.

  17. I just have two words for staying ahead of any kind of shopping:

    AMAZON

    Oh, is that just one word??

    I love watching Black Friday from the comfort of my own home – oh, someone was trampled by stampeding shoppers … again??

  18. Several years ago, one of my students was practically speechless when I told him that my family and I do not go to the store on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I told him if enough people did that then the employees would be able to have the day off. He thought my little “embargo” was futile. He’s right … but, I’m still staying home.

    Take Michael’s advice and shop online. Enjoy your holidays.

  19. Perfectly expressed!

    Standing in line for my lunch yesterday, a lady asked if I go out to the stores on “Black Friday.” My response? “Not without a gun to my head.”

    This year, oldest boy is going through a divorce and will have the kids most of the time (yay) but will still pay her through the a**. She loves them but doesn’t want them, tell me how you reconcile that to a 7 & 3 year old? Youngest has his own challenges with school and work and life. I am working 2 jobs & Hubbs has the deer-in-the-headlights look as oldest & grands move in while he – yep – runs his business from home.

    Know what I want for Christmas? Peace.

    That’s it.

    MJ

    1. Oh, MJ, I hear you, I really, really do. Peace is necessary but so fleeting sometimes.

      If I could have anything at all this Christmas? It’s to have all my brothers here with me. My younger brother (who is going through a nasty divorce) is stuck down in North Carolina because he has three kids. I would give anything to just have him up here and to see my nephews and niece! I don’t need no stinkin’ presents, just my family here with me.

  20. Snoring Dog Studio

    On the one hand, it is awfully grotesque, but on the other hand, I suppose some retail workers appreciate the extra money. I go back and forth on this capitalism thing all the time. Sometimes it seems so wrong and at other times it feels like human nature. This year, I’m trying to make some of my gifts. That makes me feel just a bit less tied to the shopping season.

    Loved your examples, too! You are such a great writer, Darla!

    1. I feel the same way as you, Jean. It’s necessary, yet sometimes goes over a fine line. Of course, we need to fuel the economy, keep people working, make money so we can buy things and yada yada yada. I think my rant was more centered on how sick I am of the Christmas hype crowding into other holidays like Thanksgiving. A holiday where we supposedly are to give thanks for the blessings in life, like family. The family we won’t be with because we’re out shopping or working. Seems kind of wrong to me.

      I love the idea of making your own gifts! Being such an incredible artist, I’m sure you’re pretty dang crafty.

      1. Snoring Dog Studio

        Oh, I too, wish they’d hold off the hype till after Thanksgiving! I don’t think anyone needs those early reminders. And, yes, I’d hate to see Thanksgiving just swallowed up by the next holiday. Pray the retail industry don’t try to combine the two.

  21. Brilliant! Today I went to Starbucks and asked for their Thanksgiving roasted blend. The barista looked at me with a straight face and said, “That’s over. We now have the Christmas blend.”
    I reminded him that Thanksgiving is next week. He said, “I don’t know what to tell you. I guess you should have come last week.”

  22. This was fabulous. Dearly beloved and I were walking into Lowes the other day and they had already decorated for Christmas. I was so sad. I hadn’t even bought my grandson his advent calendar yet and Lowes already had plastic Santa’s everywhere.

    What is wrong with us? I just want family time.

  23. Diane

    I remember reading about some Jewish people who would work in place of their Christian friends on Christmas so their friends would have the day off. The Christians reciprocated by working on Jewish holidays. I know it’s not workable in most situations, but it’s a solution for some people.
    My daughter has to work 2-11 PM on Thanksgiving and Black Friday at the local Walmart. I will watch her two small children, so I’ll do most of my shopping online. Because she’s working on Thanksgiving, my family is getting together for the thanks-giving meal on Wednesday. We figure as long as you’re giving thanks and can be with family, what difference does it make when you celebrate?

  24. “Or what keeps the bigwigs at these monster box store companies filthy rich while their employees get paid minimum wage.” You have no idea how much this pisses me off. Needless to say, I’m a liberal hippie who has already finished half her Christmas shopping at the fair-trade import shop that creates jobs for disadvantaged people. And they say there’s a war on Christmas? Excuse me, Christmas? With all due respect, you are waging a war on yourself here.

    Cantankerous, not-funny Angie signing off now.

  25. Funny stuff, Darla, and well-written as usual. But the serious message underneath it all is an important one. We want everything now. Eliminating the wait time may be momentarily gratifying, but it isn’t how life works, and it feels artificial. Thanks for another great post.

  26. How did I miss this? The news the other night had “people” and I use that term loosely who were camped outside of Best Buy already. for black stinking Friday. Criminelly.

  27. This is why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October– so we can faithfully tune in and express concern/indignation/moral outrage at the “state of America” when your own Thanksgiving/Black Friday thing rolls around in November. It’s like watching reality TV, only way, way worse.

  28. I really like the dating scenario, by the way. A bit like my argument to him for getting married versus the restraining order and attorneys fees that he would later rack up to get me out of his life. Thankfully, he actually saw the wisdom in it. (Don’t tell him that my spreadsheet shows I’ve spent waaaaaay more money that I originally thought I would.)

    Having four kids with a wants-list that stretches miles, we simply stick to five pressies under the tree and a stocking full of (some) candy and (lots) of fruits and nuts (with the shells on to keep them busy). As we make our purchases (done by T-giving, by the way, no Black Friday for this girl), we check off a list that goes:

    Something to wear
    Something to read
    Something you want
    Something you need
    …And one from Santa.

    Keeps things sane and the credit card bill manageable.

    Grinch? Me? Never!!! I love the Christmas holidays, even though we’re not traditionally practicing Christians. (I’m already putting up Christmas lights!) We still share the love and the story of Christ, strive to be more Christ-like, and try not to get lost in the what’s not important.

      1. I wish I could take credit for that list! A former neighbor clued me in 10 years ago and it’s just what we do. Of course, there’s usually a few other gifts under the tree too (aunts, grandparents, friends, teachers, etc.) so it’s a festive-looking on Christmas Eve (when we haul all the wrapped pressies from the attic).

        Santa’s, of course, is never wrapped and shows up sometime in the night when we’re sleeping (drinking wine??). Only a bow and tag, ’cause he’s way too busy these days with all the billions of kids out there in the world. I don’t know how he does it.

  29. Pingback: Thanksgiving as a Single Adult « Single White Christian

  30. Pingback: Seriously, Really, There is No Reason To Shop on Thanksgiving, Please Do Not Shop-Give The Day Off To Employees! Please Stores -Stores Open are Grinches! « Taking On A Cause by Patsy McCaw-Yager,Englewood, Fl.

  31. I did not shop that night, but I did accompany my youngest sister as she stood in line to purchase an iPad for $400. Sadly, she was given $100 of it by my younger sister. So, she forks over the money, so she could get a receipt for the future……..she has to pick it up sometime after the 17th of Dec. Anyways, here was the thought I had as I watched others parade by with their carts overflowing: I wonder how many of these people will have their homes go into foreclosure or be evicted b/c they charged up their credit cards – AGAIN. Black Friday (or Thursday night) simply makes me sad and makes me hate the season.

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