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Just Don’t Go November 27, 2013

Posted by craftlass in home, life lessons.
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I’ve received a few emails over the past month about petitions to stop the big box stores from opening on Thanksgiving. I heartily support these people who created these petitions, workers who are forced to skip what is supposed to be a national holiday, a national day of rest and food and family. THE American holiday. Lots of nations have Independence Days, only one that I know of (Canada) has a Thanksgiving besides us (please correct me in the comments if I have that wrong, I have too much baking to do today to do a bunch of research).

“National holiday” is a phrase that has lost all meaning. Nobody cares about veterans, or laborers, or anyone involved in making this country great anymore. No, people care about how much they can save on a mattress, a new TV, or their holiday gifts. People care more about what makes this country suck – greed. Pure greed and a complete lack of compassion. All to prepare for a holiday that’s supposed to be about celebrating the birth of a man who preached against materialism and taught that compassion for the poor is the highest quality a human being can have.

Employees have no choice. Many would lose their jobs instantly if they refused to work on the holiday. The people who need a day off far more than most of us have to work.

Have you ever worked on your feet? Worked retail on a major shopping day? It’s exhausting. Holidays are often the only days that lower-income workers even get off, in this world of working 2 or 3 jobs and still making so little that food stamps are the only way to make ends meet.

That’s why we need national holidays, for the least of us who have the least to have a day off to rest their weary feet, catch up with family, and maybe have a nice meal with the people they love.

So, what can you do? Don’t go. Don’t support any store that is open on Thursday during this Christmas season and write them to tell them why you won’t be shopping there, maybe even include what your budget would be at that store if you weren’t boycotting. Skip Black Friday at the stores that open at midnight or 6 am or whatever completely ridiculous hour wrecks any Thursday plans for employees. Participate in Small Business Saturday and support your neighbors. Shop online! That will save you money, time, hassle, and maybe even a black eye. If you have geeks on your list, I recommend ThinkGeek because they are good people who run a good business (I do ALL of my Christmas shopping there every year, including for the non-geeks on my list, because they really do have something for everyone and the best customer service in the sector) and I have never seen evidence they treat employees with less than full respect.*

Even if you don’t care at all about the plight of retail workers (and I’m sure some of you don’t), then be selfish. Don’t let Wal-Mart, Target, or any other store ruin YOUR holiday. The sales may be tempting, but is your time really so low in value that you’d rather spend hours of misery shopping than spend a few dollars more? The only thing that will make them change these horrendous practices is a hit to the bottom line.

My Christmas budget this year is non-existent, but even my time is too valuable to justify shopping these sales. The friends-turned-family that I spend my Turkey Day with and our long-held traditions are even more valuable. Priceless, actually. I also know that they would rather that I get them no gifts than leave in the middle of our festivities for something as stupid as waiting in long lines.

I would have to question whether I actually like or respect a person who would leave a holiday to shop, even. It’s a sign that person’s priorities are completely screwed up.

Avoiding these stores is the compassionate thing to do, the humanist thing to do, the Christian thing to do. Whatever your faith or philosophy, unless you are the sort for whom monetary greed IS a religion, there is no way to justify hurting people in the name of saving what amounts to not really that much money.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgivukkah this year! Two fun-as-can-be holidays, come together. This is definitely not the year to skip the holiday! Dreidels and turkey! Gelt and pumpkin pie! Latkes and sweet potato casserole! I hear the next one is in 80,000 years so we better make this one count!

Sing songs, argue about politics and childhood memories, eat until you can’t waddle, and bask in the glow of a precious day off. Bring back the magic of the unofficial start of the holidays and soak every bit of love up while you sop up leftover gravy with a freshly-baked roll. And then get a good night of turkey-induced sleep and enjoy your day off on Friday if you are lucky enough to have it off.

Now, if you will excuse me, it’s time to make the pastry for 3 types of pie… Priorities!

*Full disclosure: I have won a few ThinkGeek items at events, but they have never sent me merchandise to review, paid me in any way other than GeekPoints (which everyone gets), or otherwise asked me to mention them in any way. I’m just a fan and customer.