I saw something absolutely horrifying this morning. Keep in mind, I’m an avid fan of zombie apocalypse movies, so it takes a lot to rattle my cage. No, it wasn’t a snake coiled under my bed or a rabid Rottweiler crouched next to my car. It was something far more disturbing. When I flipped on the news, images of ravenous bargain-hunting fiends crawling over each other at Wal-Mart checkout stands flashed upon my TV screen like a bad omen of humanity’s impending doom.
You’re probably thinking, “So what? It’s Black Friday – a fucked up holiday tradition that corporate America has taught us to embrace.” But that’s where you’re wrong. You see, Black Friday is now one and the same with Thanksgiving. Rushing the holidays before Halloween just isn’t enough anymore. Now the big box stores are eclipsing Thanksgiving by launching their big sales on Thursday evening.
Oh sure, we’re still given a small window for turkey eating, but you can forget about wasting time on all of those little things like catching up with family, beating your big sister at Monopoly or watching a post-feast movie. As a matter of fact, all of that banter around the dinner table is just a distraction from your bargain hunting emails and apps. And geez – why did Grandpa Joe have to waste a whole five minutes on the blessing? All of that talk about being thankful for family, food and American freedom almost made you forget to text your BFF about the newly marked down iPhone.
Good thing you were able to catch up on the latest bargains by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, the world’s longest commercial. You know, I used to enjoy that parade, but this year did it seem like the producers said, “Let’s throw a little parade into our commercial”? Eventually I had to turn it off before Santa’s appearance because my hand was getting tired from all the fast-forwarding.
Maybe it’s the same old parade. And maybe this Black Thursday business is just a new way for retailers to get back on their feet. Perhaps I’ll learn to let our society’s infatuation wtih consumerism roll off my back. But right now, I’m pretty irate about greedy corporate giants and the millions of dedicated shoppers who allow them to exploit their workers. Next time you’re shopping at Wal-Mart, be sure to be a little nicer to that disgruntled cashier. Don’t take it personally when they ignore you or respond to your questions with a dismissive grunt. They’re probably just a little bitter because while you’re asking about what kind of apps you can download on the new Google tablet, they’re probably thinking about all the fun their family is having without them at Thanksgiving dinner. Or heck – they could be dying a slow painful death because they’re unable to afford their health insurance premiums.
So on this retrospective day when we should all be breaking bread with our loved ones, storming the “door-busters” should be the last thing on our minds. Techy gadgets, designer jeans and 50-inch flat-screens will not hold your hand at your grandmother’s funeral. They will not drive out of their way to help you fix a flat tire. They will not hold you close on a cold winter’s night. I love a good sale as much as the next girl, but I think it’s worth it to pay a little extra at the mall than to ditch my friends and family – and the meaning of Thanksgiving – for a bargain basement deal.