Here comes Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas! It's a month-long season of friends and family, spiritual reflection, and time to decompress from our usual helter-skelter lives, right?
Good lord, shout the corporate bosses, are you nuts? Do you think America is some kind of Norman Rockwell fantasyland? This is the Season of Mass Consumerism, Bucko, so lift your tail-end out of that La-Z-Boy and hit the malls -- pronto! And if you happen to have a job in a chain store, don't even think about taking a holiday, or you won't have a job the next day. Let us now praise the one God we all serve: Mammon!
Years ago, Macy's started "Black Friday" as a kickoff to this Holy Month of Frenzied Commercialization. But it produced such a surge of profit that Walmart and other chains converted to the Church of Perpetual Selling. Black Friday used to begin the day after Thanksgiving. Last year, reaching for more, the Elmer Gantrys of Walmart dared to desecrate Thanksgiving itself by opening their doors to the Black Friday masses at 8 pm -- on Thursday night.
This year -- with Macy's, Target, Toys R Us, J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Kohl's, and others also pushing the Friday Shop-A-Rama into Thursday -- Walmart will open at 6 pm, intruding even-deeper into Thanksgiving's family dinner hour. And, pushing excess to a new high, Kmart will open at 6 am on Thanksgiving morning. Yes, 6 am! Still, a Walmart executive says, "We thought 6 o'clock [pm] was the exact right time to win the weekend."
Wow -- did you ever think of Thanksgiving as something to "win"? But, then, your spiritual devotion to mammon probably isn't as ardent as that executive's. Meanwhile, the same guy reports that the one-million low-wage workers who'll have to staff the Thanksgiving profit grab are "really excited to work that day."
Sure they are. "Excited" as in agitated.
Listen to this commentary:
Photo: Flickr user Chris, creative commons licensed.