Black Thursday? Greed Replaces Gratitude

COMMENTARY | I’ve always loved Thanksgiving because all of us celebrate the holiday, regardless of our backgrounds, our race, our religion. It’s a day for each one of us to stop and be grateful for what we have.

Or it was.

Now it has flipped, twisted into exactly the opposite of what Thanksgiving means. It’s become a day to think about what you don’t have but can get for low, low prices. It’s about amassing more instead of appreciation for what’s sitting in front of you. Greed has replaced gratitude as an American value, and we have the erosion of Thanksgiving to prove it.

There are strings of stores opening for business on Thanksgiving Day, cutting short their workers’ holiday at best, denying them a holiday at worst. This encroachment started with earlier and earlier Black Friday hours, until doors were opening at midnight. From midnight, there was only one way to go.

And now one of the quintessential American holidays is mostly gone, another day about opening wallets over opening hearts, and there’s no such thing as having enough. It is the embodiment of the want want want culture, the need to have the latest shiny bauble at the expense of everything else. Family isn’t important. Shared American values aren’t important. A sense of community with everyone sitting down to a dinner with the same purpose on the same day isn’t important. No, not anymore.

What’s important is that off-brand 55-inch television you can get if only you don’t stay until dessert.

If you must participate in the Black Friday frenzy, there are a number of stores keeping their doors firmly shut this year on Thanksgiving Day, including Costco, Half-Price Books, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bloomingdale’s, TJ Maxx and Nordstrom. Maybe they should be first on your list when it comes to your holiday shopping. Sad as it might be to have to differentiate, stores that treat their employees as people rather than coin-operated drones deserve our business. Retail workers should have a basic thing for which to be thankful each and every year: a full, paid day off to spend with their friends and family.

The soul-eating zombies of commercialism have ripped through the perimeter to devour the brains of the one holiday anyone within our borders can celebrate. We need to stop it before it spreads, and all that’s left of Thanksgiving is post-apocalyptic wasteland to be known as Black Thursday.

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