The newest threat to family Thanksgiving celebrations makes football look all warm and fuzzy by comparison.
No longer content with midnight line-ups, proponents of the “door-buster” sale have advanced launch time to 8:00 PM, just in case the family might be tempted to wash some dishes or lie down for a post turkey snooze and accidentally sleep through the night.
It doesn’t take much imagination to guess that before long there will be “pre-dinner door-busters;” or (even more likely) “pre-game door-busters,” with free turkey dinner giveaways to the first 400 in line. Pretty soon “Black Friday” will just be a memory and “Black Thursday” will become the unabashed leader in sales.
We might then consider moving Thanksgiving closer to the harvest; like the Canadians do in October. Traditional Thanksgiving could then enjoy the uncontested spotlight as the pageant of retail miracles it has come to be.
There still would be the Gold Rush ambiance folks know and love so well on that first official day of Christmas shopping. People just love to stand in line for hours before making a mad break for the door so that they can spend their ever dwindling cash reserves on electronic junk that will be landfill within a couple of years…tops.
Mind you, I don’t much care how folks choose to spend their Thanksgiving…so long as it is they who are doing the choosing.
When I was a kid, retail workers could count on one day each week when they knew they would not be called into work. Somehow, generations of Americans survived Sundays without shopping. They practiced the lost art of planning ahead and most followed the convention of spending that time with their families.
But we sure loved shopping. ‘Didn’t do it all that often; but shopping was a form of entertainment whose day was nearing.
We were overjoyed when Sunday became available as a shopping day. Not only could we drop that planning business, but we had a new excuse to avoid quality time with kith and kin.
A lot of retail workers weren’t too happy because expanded retail hours meant less time with their own families; but as manufacturing jobs disappeared they had little choice but to gladly accept employment under any terms at all; and that increasingly meant poorer wages and conditions for all.
But we loved shopping and we wanted more, more, more. Department stores begot shopping centers; which, in time, begot malls. Those malls begot superstores who smote the department stores and begot supercenters.
Now, with internet sales poised to shut-down even the supercenters, “door buster” sales are one way to forestall the collapse of bricks and mortar retail. As usual, it’s the little guy at the bottom of the pay scale who must bear the brunt by pulling a forced all-nighter on the day set aside for thankfulness.
And here we are again, penniless and mortgaged to the hilt; lining up like lemmings to hurl ourselves over our own personal fiscal cliff.
Gramma would have been so proud.