(Before Crabby Old Lady gets into this rant, she needs to tell you that she abhors crowds and has never in her life gone shopping on black Friday or any other crunch shopping day. There is no sale on earth that could temp her.)
For many years, Americans have been cajoled, enticed, coerced, pressured, seduced and, most of all, expected to spend a lot of money for Christmas on black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving. It was (and still is) almost considered unpatriotic not to do so.
The poor schnooks who bought the hype barely finished their Thanksgiving feast before lining up overnight to be the first of hundreds or even thousands of people through the doors of big box and department stores when they opened at 6AM.
If Crabby Old Lady is not mistaken, at least one person on a past black Friday was killed in that crush of people and others have been seriously injured. But never mind safety. What's a broken arm or rib or even a life in giant corporations' pursuit of profit and astronomical executive pay.
The best that could be said about black Friday through the years was that at least everyone had one day with family and friends before the commercial onslaught.
Thanksgiving is one of 11 official federal holidays in the United States. It is often noted that it is the single holiday with no obligations for gifts or revelry or spending. Just the warmth of a good meal and general conviviality at home with family and friends.
Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of year as millions cover great distances to be with family and some make it a tradition to invite strangers to dinner who have no family of their own.
Even if that doesn't warm your heart, the downtime from the hubbub of work and constant commercialism of our lives is a pleasant relief. It has been that way in all of Crabby Old Lady's 72 years.
Until last year. In 2012, some stores opened on Thanksgiving Day for the first time and many more have joined them this year. Crabby suspects there is no going back. Ever.
From now on Thanksgiving will be a shopping day in America. According to DailyKos, here is a partial list of stores that will be open on Thursday:
Toys "R" Us
Dick's Sporting Goods
Although the majority of these stores are opening at 8PM on Thanksgiving, Walmart begins at 6PM and Old Navy is way ahead of everyone at 9AM – just about the time Crabby is getting the stuffing together for the turkey.
Crabby would like to remind you that these stores cannot be open on this national holiday without the sales staff – you know, thousands of minimum-wage workers, people with families (some of whom have traveled those great distances to visit) - who will have to jump up from the table to be at work before the 6PM or 8PM opening.
It is not inappropriate for Crabby to further remind you that at least two Walmarts have held food drives for their own employees who cannot afford Thanksgiving dinner on what the company pays them.
In the face of this holiday travesty along the millions of long-term unemployed, other millions of underpaid workers and the many who are still stuck with underwater mortgages, Crabby is having a hard time enjoying her good fortune to not be among them this holiday.
For the record, here are some of the big retailers who are giving their employees their deserved holiday by closing on Thanksgiving according, again, to DailyKos:
BJ's Wholesale Club
Burlington Coat Factory
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marc Leavitt: I Used to Think That Sleep Was Not For Me