The day afterThe day after Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when people hit the malls and the stores to find the best Christmas bargains because stores often run sales the day after Thanksgiving that can scarcely be topped. I have no problem with this custom generally, though my wife likes to occasionally spend too much money on the day after. This year, however, I noticed a trend that I personally find quite alarming.
The Christmas rush this year in many places did not begin the day after Thanksgiving-it began on Thanksgiving itself. People rushed to stores on Thanksgiving morning to find bargains, many of which were open for business, with employees giving up the holiday with their families to work that day. How much do you want to bet that those employees weren't getting paid extra to be there? Many of them were not able to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families or friends because they were working. I went to the Bass Pro Shop in Sevierville with my in-laws yesterday morning, and all fully expected to beat the rush that we were sure was coming today-we were looking for bargains on jeans which the Bass Pro Shop has on sale this week. No such luck beating the rush-the people were wall-to-wall and there were so many cars in the parking lot that you would have thought that Thanksgiving was the Grand Opening. I felt sorry for the employees who had to deal with the madness on a day when I am sure a few of them reckoned for a fairly easy time of things-I know I mistakenly did.
I understand that some places have to be open on Thanksgiving. Hospitals and long-term care facilities need to be staffed-even Nicole had to work yesterday (in her line of work, someone always has to be there-unless she moves to another facility before next year, she'll have Thanksgiving off and work Christmas), but she got off work early enough that it didn't interfere with our plans, we were still able to have a family Thanksgiving the way we always do. If you are a small store owner or manager, you'd be a fool not to be open at least half the day on Thanksgiving-somebody will forget the butter, the rolls, or the pumpkin pie.
Generally speaking, however, we have strayed away from the idea that the holidays are sacred and need to be respected. I am as pro-business as the next Republican, but I do believe in responsible business and in the idea that business owners need to respect the people who work for them, because (God forbid) this is the Christian thing to do. These people have families and lives and they deserve to spend the holidays with the people they love as much as possible. The trend toward turning our most sacred of holidays into just another shopping day is one that I find deeply disturbing for our culture.
One of the things that I love about living in White Pine is that for the most part, this town shuts down on Sundays and holidays. Yes, the Food City is still open, but you don't find heavy crowds there on Sunday so the employees are not overworked on what was once a sacred day. Most of the other businesses in town: Hannah's Cafe, the drugstore, the hardware store, the two banks-these are closed on Sunday and were closed yesterday.
While there should be some places open, that general idea is that as much as can be done to avoid regularity on a holiday like Thanksgiving so that people can spend it with their families should be the practice.
As much as it can be done, shut the town down.