Last year wasthe first year that several businesses opened for Thanksgiving strictly for the purpose of getting ahead. The media did its job of helping to hype the extra hours for sales and interviewed people that were in line to “be first”. The ultimate were the scenes with people in tents who had other family members bring food. Of course, right afterward the announcements were that again the Black Friday sales outperformed all the previous years in sales. Two weeks following Black Friday I heard on the news that sales for the hyped days were good but the push is still on to sell . Questions come to my mind like would people spend just as much if they waited until Friday or would the good sales on different days boost sales in the same way? This year it was announced that some retail stores will be opening as early as 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Truly by the time the cost of opening, staff, sales, stock, security, etc. is figured in will 4 hours change the bottom line significantly?
My “senses” come from a different place. Thanksgiving is a national holiday with no specific religious ties but rather crosses over all peoples. It is a family time and sharing time and for some a time to give back – time designated to step down from hectic days to enjoy each other’s company. A time to “catch a breath” before the winter holiday season begins for many. A time to refresh before returning to a stress filled life and a time to reflect on personal thankfulness.
In full disclosure I dislike shopping on Black Friday but there are many friends and family members that look forward to the day as a family event- a continuation of Thanksgiving and the true beginning of holiday excitement These folks relish the planning, strategizing, and comparing lists with the “deals” that draw people into a particular store. Often this is followed by lunch out to compare stories- face to face time. Up until last year however, Thanksgiving was a day for those shoppers along with others to do as they
I was shopping and chatting with a young clerk who kindly said YOU have a nice Thanksgiving. I stopped in my tracks and turned around and asked about his Thanksgiving- he gave me a half smile as he told me he would be working that day. His family was several hours away so he couldn’t go home as he usually
did. Someone had invited him to eat before his long shift. He was being positive but in his eyes one could see he was already missing his family traditions.
This got me thinking about the how the dollar is driving everything. At one point in my life I worked for a company that gave employees personal business days but they always had to know what the business was and whether it was granted or not was up to the company management. The employee was no longer a person but just considered a piece of the cog. No longer was there trust that the individual won’t take responsibility. It takes away the need
to nurture develop loyalty, self-reliance, responsibility, self- worth, caring,
trustworthiness and all those individual values in the work place. My parents’ generation grew up when there was pride in work and product, loyalty, caring, and responsibility between employee and employer. My generation appears caught with change; there are exceptions but basically that financial bottom line appears to be all that counts. Sometimes I feel this is at the cost of the
individual and the family. I applaud the companies that do shut downs at the winter holidays to allow their employees (and families) to recharge, the companies that encourage and give time for community work including allowing parents to attend conferences and participate in their child’s life or give community service.
Of course there are first responders and others because
of their profession that need to work on those holidays for the health and
safety of us all, but even they should get a few of the holidays of the year off or a shortened schedule. We thank them for that sacrifice.
The door was cracked wider last year but hopefully the individual will become important again and the actual holidays will be for personal /family choice time and not directed by a corporate bottom line.