Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Opinions are in: Thanksgiving Day Shopping -- Stuff it Corporate America by Patty Hughes - Legal Analyst, Social Justice Advocate, Humanitarian, Mom

On Thanksgiving Day I invited the public via online social media to provide their views and opinions about shopping on America’s traditional Thanksgiving holiday where families historically come together to give thanks. A resounding NO bellowed a cross section of participants from around the nation. Holiday supporters seem to say “No, no, no, no don’t funk with our Turkey Day! It’s un-American!

Many of those that chimed in felt strongly that Thanksgiving Day is a “sacred” time.  Another opinion from Mark, 52, of Dallas, Texas, shared that “Thanksgiving is being ‘tainted’ and corporate America is to blame, but so are the consumers who are trading in their family time for a bargain.”

“What message are we sending to our children if we don't build the traditions now, how do we expect them to carry on? Statistically, people overspend more on Black Friday than they would if they shopped regular sales throughout the year. The sales are not as great as they are advertised to be - and - most of that stuff will be on sale (and sometimes cheaper) later on,” voiced Martha, 59, from South Carolina.

Longtime Walmart employee, Mike, in his 50’s - from California, was scheduled to work a full day – the 10am - 7pm shift on Thanksgiving Day - “It is my bread and butter, but Thanksgiving should be spent with loved ones and anywhere but a crowded store.  I see customers enjoying our low prices, but happy faces are far and few between.  It’s a mob.  Eat your meal, go for a walk and watch some football. I am down with ‘Black Friday [working], but I want to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas with friends and family. “ Walmart reportedly was expected to put one million employees to work on Thanksgiving Day.

Lorrie, a 43 year old mother, from the west coast states that “making so many people work on a holiday contributes to class warfare. Forcing retail employees to be apart from their family on a national holiday isn’t good for families, communities or cultures. It also feeds the notion that we ought to place higher priority on capitalism not togetherness and staying connected; unfair to small business as well.

As we are patiently awaiting the statistics to be measured about whether the rest of America is keen on swapping their family time for the sake of serious retailer shopping enticements like FREEBIES! Temporary sidewalk tent shelters, early morning diehards, limited supplies, endless lines, and personal safety  are among some of the myriad of reasons some of us non-Black Friday shoppers stay at home and relish the serenity instead of the insanity in boosting retail sales profits.

Americans love their families and the “shop till you drop” attitude may carry with it a negative sign of the times. What may be good for the economy may not be especially good for American family values.

So pilgrims, my message to you is that if you really want to save money on gifts this year, give the ultimate freebie -- your time and love instead; neither cost a thing.