Today they call Cyber Monday, which is like Black Friday for online shoppers. The shopping craze has infiltrated every part of our Thanksgiving week and family time. This morning Aaron sent me an email asking permission to buy Another iPhone case (he buys them as often as he buys packs of gum, from various discount places mostly in Hong Kong). “But this one is half off,” he pleads. “So?” I reply. “What about the other 43-some-odd cases you have?” Oh. Those were for other phones in other sizes, I’m told. I picture him sitting in class at the high school, completing this morning’s Government exam quickly so he can use that iPhone to look for another new case. For him, buying a new case is like buying a fat quarter of fabric for me. I don’t really need more fabric, but it makes me really happy.
This year has been an interesting one for early Christmas shopping. Maybe because our kids are older and maybe because we’ll be in Africa until right before Christmas (I told them they’d all have to help with all the Christmas prep this year because I’ll be gone). This year they’ve all wanted to be involved in the shopping more than in the past. It all started on Thanksgiving Day afternoon, as they visited with cousins and learned that Black Friday this year was starting on Thanksgiving Evening. I overheard the cousins making plans to go out and join the shopping fray. My kids were right in the thick of it, ready for an adventure.
They all left in the early evening with a schedule of which stores were opening when. The boys planned Walmart first, then Target, then Best Buy (where shoppers have been living in tents on the sidewalk all week, waiting to be the first shoppers when the doors opened). The girls wanted clothes. They headed north.
The boy car stayed out until 3 a.m. The girl cousins’ car returned at 6 a.m. after having gone to the new Lehi Outlet Mall, then on to SLC malls. It was crazy. They were caught up in the craze of shopping for the sake of shopping. They found some good deals and saved some money, but at what expense? I’m not sure the trade off from family time at home was worth any price.
Now the Christmas grinch steals Thanksgiving
NEW YORK (Nov 18, 2012): Thanksgiving, the last US holiday undisturbed by mass commercialisation, is now victim to the ever advancing Christmas shopping season, with stores welcoming shopaholics before the family turkey can be taken from the oven.
Thanksgiving was long that rare day when stores closed and families gathered for long, uninterrupted meals. Unlike at Easter, Christmas or Hanukkah there was no merchandising, other than for the unfortunate birds.
That’s been eroding yearly with the growing emphasis on Black Friday, when stores begin sales that they count on for putting their books in the black.
Now, to the consternation of some Americans, the sanctity of Thanksgiving, which falls this year on Nov 22, appears to have crumbled even more.
Black Friday will start on Thursday, with Wal-Mart and Target, and Toys “R” Us opening their sales in the evening, right when people, including store clerks, might have been finishing their feast, or settling down to family TV.
Kmart will open even earlier, starting at 6:00 am Thursday. There’ll be a break in the late afternoon, but then a reopening at 8:00 pm to 3:00 am Friday. Other big department stores, like Lord & Taylor in New York, are planning to open all day on Thanksgiving for the first time.
For others, there’ll be Thanksgiving, but barely: the sales will open at midnight on Thursday to make use of every second of Black Friday, or as some are already suggesting it should be called, Black Thursday. Best Buy is even giving out advance tickets for entry.
Target defends its decision, saying “the holiday season is highly competitive and Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest shopping times of the year.
“Our opening time this year reflects the feedback we have heard from our guests. Many prefer to shop following their family gatherings rather than in the very early hours of the morning. . . .”
And the news report goes on. I am saddened to see this last peaceful family holiday fall to commercialism and the craze of spending. Some things just aren’t worth any price.