Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's Now Black Thursday

by Bill Holmes

Once again it is almost time for Thanksgiving. That once best of all holidays when family and friends gathered for good food, good libations and good times. A relaxing day with eating and drinking spread over several hours. No pressure to buy and give gifts. No getting dressed up for a fancy meal at a fancy restaurant. The only requirement was to eat too much. Belts were loosened, maybe a top button or snap was undone. If you were smart you wore sweat or stretch pants to the competition.

A bonus was that many people have Friday off too so it becomes a four day break. Many people used the weekend to get the Christmas stuff out of the attic and begin decorating the house. But on Thursday nobody worried about that or anything else. A few diehards might get excited about the Cowboys or Lions football games, but most are nodding off.

The Friday after Thanksgiving has been the start of the Christmas shopping season for a long time. I guess there have been sales but they were like normal sales, maybe 20% off a few featured  items. Stores were open during normal Friday hours.

Well, that is so old fashion and 20th century. It's never too early to go Christmas shopping. The capitalism and merchandising creep began several years ago with the super-duper sales on Friday. This was mostly limited to the discount stores at first. Walmart might offer five 27" TVs per store for $50 or Target would have ten VCRs for $40. There were a host of other sale items, but only a few super deals. K-mart had more and better blue light specials. The stores still opened at their normal times or maybe an hour early.

At some point Black Friday became the accepted term for the day after Thanksgiving. The deals got more extravagant and the stores opened earlier. Other stores joined the trend. Now almost all stores have some kind of sale and extended hours. The opening hour creep has gotten worse. It went from 7:00 to 6:00 to 4:00 in the morning to midnight. A couple of stores began opening Thanksgiving evenings. Now there are no limits. Thanksgiving is just another shopping day, one with some outrageous promotional come-ons.

What was once Thanksgiving became Black Friday eve and is now Black Thursday. Soon it will become just plain Thursday in Christmas shopping kickoff week which will then become the fourth Thursday in Christmas shopping kickoff month. Eventually it will become just another Thursday in the Christmas shopping season which starts on Labor Day or maybe July 5th.

In my opinion this is all a big waste of time but it may be a blessing in disguise for people like me. I figure that most people will be done shopping and/or out of money by the time I start buying stuff. Unless they move Christmas, I think December 24th, maybe the 23rd, is a perfect day to shop.

I plan to enjoy this Thanksgiving with family and friends. There will be way too much food, maybe too much to drink, some football watching, some parlor games, old and new stories and kids who are a year older and bigger. There will not be any shopping. Remember when you are enjoying that second helping of turkey and dressing or that slice of pumpkin pie, there are thousands of workers manning the local Walmarts. Someday there may not be anyone left to go shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, everyone will be working.

We're losing one great holiday tradition among families and friends and replacing it with frenzied shopping among hostile strangers. Let's have a turkey sandwich on Friday and skip the malls. Don't forget Cyber Monday.


No comments:

Post a Comment