What has happened to the holidays? Specifically, what has happened to Thanksgiving? I decided to check the dictionary before I wrote this piece to make sure I actually knew what a holiday was. Here are my findings. Webster’s New World College Dictionary says a Holiday is “a day of freedom from labor; day set aside for leisure and recreation.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as, “A day free from work that one may spend at leisure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event.” Ok, I have my facts straight. Let’s use some logic here. If Thanksgiving is a holiday, and all business is supposed to be halted on holidays, then why are so many darn businesses open on Thanksgiving? They can’t give their staff one day off? I am fortunate enough to work for people who are closed on Thanksgiving but every year I see more and more businesses opening their doors on Thanksgiving. People tell me they are going to boycott the Thanksgiving Day Sales but that can’t be true of many people because the stores are getting bolder and bolder in their strides into Thanksgiving; opening earlier and earlier. I believe in their hearts people sympathize with the minimum wage workers having their turkey day ruined but the sales put out there are so compelling that they cannot help but go shopping. The fact of the matter is retail is in a serious battle for existence with the internet. Brick and mortar stores are trying anything to survive. If that means they ruin Thanksgiving for their entire staff, they are willing to live with that in order to compete. All of those easy one line sales are taking jobs from people in retail stores. I can see their point of view. I don’t happen to like or agree with it but I see what their trying to do. The question I raise is whether the net result of the sales is really that much better when it is spread out that when everything opened early on Friday morning? Are the same dollars just spread over more days? I wonder. Clearly stores think there’s some advantage to it as I don’t see the Thanksgiving Day trend going away any time soon. Just think, it wasn’t so long ago that I felt for the gas station attendants as the only people working on the holiday. Times change quickly these days. What a pity. So much for sitting down with the family and giving thanks…not when there’s a door crasher at Wal-Mart you have to have.
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