Thanksgiving has always been a convoluted mess. Our predecessors plundered the Native American land, the occasion wasn't recognized as an official holiday until 1863, and I'm not even certain as to why we specifically target turkeys for the main course. But one thing's for sure--"thanks" and "giving" no longer go together like peanut butter and jelly.While Thanksgiving represents an appreciation for all that's good in our lives, Black Friday stands in direct contrast, demonstrating the greed and rage lingering deep within even the most casual of consumers. Retailers thrive as shoppers scramble to save money, trampling one another (and the spirit of the season) in the process. But as numerous big box stores announce Thanksgiving Day hours, consumers might finally be starting to notice the folly of their ways. In many instances, even those that are willing to brave the crowds on Black Friday understand that opening on Thanksgiving diminishes the importance of this long-standing holiday.
For many organizations, however, profits come before people. Pizza Hut, for example, fired one manager in Indiana for refusing to open his store on Thanksgiving. Though he lost his job, he stands firm in his opinion that employees deserve to spend time with their families. In Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts, "blue laws" specifically protect against such troubles, prohibiting large supermarkets, big box stores, and department stores from opening on Thanksgiving. But in many cases, those making the decision to implement holiday hours aren't those who will have to man the crowds. Corporate executives will likely still have the luxury of enjoying their meal with family and friends, while those who work the registers and stock the shelves will be forced to forego precious time with their loved ones.
P.C. Richard & Son, in particular, prides itself on upholding the value of family time. While a number of the electronics and appliances store's prime competitors will be opening their doors on Thanksgiving, P.C. Richard & Son has decided to remain closed for the day. The private, family-owned brand's commercial (below) highlights precisely what's wrong with the increasingly popular Thanksgiving trend:
"Your home for the holidays, not your holiday meal." Though brief, this message says so much. The chain values both its employees and its consumers, emphasizing the value of family, not money. And, while I personally dread the crowds at any time during the holiday season, I'd be much more willing to make the trip for a company that treats people with the dignity they deserve.
So, this Thanksgiving, instead of tossing deals into your cart, shovel some food onto your plate. Start a conversation with those relatives you rarely see, and save the shouting for the dinner table, not the aisles. Be thankful for what you have instead of foraging for what you want. (You probably don't need another big screen LCD TV, anyway.)