11/26/2014

Pardon Me While I Showcase My Inner Curmudgeon

But what on earth is up with shopping on Thanksgiving?

Over the last several years I've seen all the online "protests" but I have to admit, I haven't paid a whole lot of attention because, frankly, it seemed like much ado about nothing. None of the ads I was getting had any Thursday hours (or if they did, they were 11pm for the crazy people who got up silly early to get black Friday deals anyway.) But today, I brought in our "mail" (honestly, the box out in front of our house seems to serve solely as a way for people I don't know to send me things I don't want. I miss real mail.) and all it contained were ads. Not overly surprising. But these ads were all for Thursday deals. Starting at 11am in some cases.

This is beyond a tad ridiculous for a number of reasons.

First up (and most importantly), it grieves me that our country as a whole has gone so far out of alignment that when you say Christmas, all they think of is "gifts." And I'd venture to say that better than 50% of the people thinking of gifts are thinking of what they hope to get, not what they're looking forward to giving. At least with the latter, there's some element of the memory of the Christ-child in there, seeing as how He is God's gift to us. But really, it was annoying enough when it was all just Santa this and Santa that. But good grief, does  no one actually remember what we're meant to be celebrating on December 25th? Cause it's not greed and crass commercialism!

Second, I don't understand how, with the debt problem that so many Americans have, these deals make any sense. You make a (sane) list of the gifts you want to give in order to celebrate Christ's birth. You price them out. You allot the money in your budget to cover said purchases. You buy them, wrap them, and give them. If you can't afford them, you revise the list. Now maybe you scan the ads to see if there's a deal on one of the items you've already decided to buy, but you don't scan the ads so that you can be whipped into a frenzy of "Oh my lands! It's a savings of 65%! I must have it! I must have ten of them!!" If you weren't going to buy it initially, then it shouldn't matter how much it is or isn't on sale.

Finally, I don't see the purpose in asking people to go open stores and work registers on a day we're meant to be spending being thankful for what we already have so that you can indulge your shopping demons. Honestly. The deals will be the same, most likely, the next day. Or the day after that. And even if they're not? See the second reason above. If you're actually budgeting and buying with sanity first and foremost in your mind, then there's no reason to go participate in such ridiculousness. Yes, sure, I'm sure the people working are getting paid extra and maybe that's a boon for them -- but I'm also sure that's the argument the stores (who are making more than anyone in this deal) are trotting out. I'm guessing with all the other extended hours this season of irresponsible consumerism brings with it, the folks who work in retail aren't getting shorted overly in their chance to make a little extra dosh for their own purchasing privilege.

Stay home tomorrow. Eat some turkey (or whatever your preferred dish is) with your family. And take the time to be thankful for the fact that you have the opportunity to do both of those things. Save the shopping for another day.

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