While combing the pages of my ever growing newsfeed on both Twitter and Facebook I have come across the argument about how society has taken the spirit out of the holidays by making it materialistic. How it is extremely horrible that people in retail can’t be with their families on the holidays. Well, here is my take on it all.
As many of you know, I’m an avid shopper 365 days a year 24/7. I have been known to wake in the middle of the night and do a little online shopping, attend grand openings of stores, go to Target weekly and spend the first hour of my morning looking for great deals. Shopping is in my blood. Grandpa Soetenga was an avid shopper and until recently I never knew that’s where my habits come from (a pure blessing from the grave).
For years my mom and I have been doing the Black Friday thing. We love it. One year it was icing (you know when it’s not rain, sleet or snow), another I ended up in the ER after our trip, but nothing gets us down. Last year was the first year I didn’t attend, but I was pregnant and vacation was far more enticing at this point. There’s something about the rush and thrill of it all. Usually I have a lot of shopping done before the actual day arrives, so I either shop for myself or just enjoy the time with my mom.
As years progressed, Black Friday shopping has become Black Thursday. I’m well equipped with shopping on Thanksgiving as one year I stood in the blessed cold at 4am outside of Kmart waiting to get a TV for my ever so lovely husband (boyfriend at the time). Sure, it’s all about getting a good deal and no we don’t need shopping to start on Thursday, but so has become the norm of todays’ society. If people stopped shopping or demanding it on Black Thursday it wouldn’t be such a hit.
The part that gets me though is my newsfeed members complaining about people having to work during this time. Guess what? It comes with the job. Many companies offer awesome incentives to work on these days and when you’re hired they usually say “nights, weekends and holidays.”
What I think people fail to remember is, retail companies aren’t the only ones who work on holidays. Christmas Eve most people don’t get the day off. All of my family members work until noon making our meal later in the day. Don’t see me complaining. My dad has had to plow snow on holidays before to make the roadways safer for people who are traveling. He’s also had to leave meals for water main breaks. My best friend is a nurse who has worked countless holidays. Policeman, firefighters, news people, gas station attendants, restaurant employees, airport employees and so on. What do you think it’s like for the families of those people? No different than is it for the families of retail workers. It’s called giving and taking.
You’re probably thinking that I’m nothing but a hypocrite because I get weekends, holidays, and summers off while only working until 4pm. Guess what? I chose my career. Don’t judge because you didn’t. Those people who work on a holiday, chose to be in a field with that requirement. If you’ve ever had a conversation with the retail workers, many of them will tell you they’ve already had their meals earlier in the day or will be celebrating a different on a day. It’s about the time you get to spend with one another, no matter what day it is or when it happens.
Do I feel sorry for families who can’t spend that time together on those days? Of course I do. It’s putting you between a rock and a hard place. I know others are envious, but you make it work in other ways. No one says you have to celebrate holidays on the actual day or specific time. The Zusan’s celebrate Christmas at the beginning of December. We’ve had Easter a week late or early before. We’ve had Thanksgiving lunch instead of dinner. In the end, we’ve managed to spend time together no matter what day it was. So much time has been spent focusing on the fact that all of these retail workers have to work this very day, but they’re given enough notice that other arrangements can be made. Fireman, doctors, nurses, police officers and other people who work in industries where emergencies happen don’t get that glory. Try explaining that to kids who are trying to enjoy time with their family and daddy or mommy has to leave to help others. Not as easy as saying we’re celebrating our holiday on a different day so we can all be together.
My point in all of this is, you can choose to shop on Black Thursday if you want. Your meal can be planned earlier and possibly you’re like me and enjoy spending that time with your mom. However, when you do shop, remember those retail workers who open the door with a smile aren’t the only people working. They aren’t the only ones missing out on time with their families. Many people across our country are.