If you shop on Thanksgiving, you are part of the problem


I’m a capitalist. It’s not my religion, I won’t bow before its altar, I won’t kiss its ring, but I believe in capitalism. It’s an invention of man and it involves money, so it’s not perfect, but I’ve never heard anyone suggest a better system. So I’m a capitalist.

I am not, however, a consumerist. I like the freedom and innovation of capitalism; I loath the materialism and gluttony of consumerism. There’s a popular misconception that capitalism and consumerism are inextricably linked; that one naturally involves and requires the other. But this is a fallacy. Certainly the “stimulus” programs a few years ago ought to have dispelled this notion entirely. The government perverted the free market and elected to hand free money to millions of people, hoping that they’d go out and buy a bunch of stuff with it. This was consumerism at the expense of capitalism, and it revealed our priorities: forget freedom, forget principle — just buy stuff.

That’s our entire economic system: buy things. Everybody buy. It doesn’t matter what you buy. Just buy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have money. Just buy. Our entire civilization now rests on the assumption that, no matter what else happens, we will all continue to buy lots and lots of things. Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy. And then buy a little more. Don’t create, or produce, or discover — just buy. Never save, never invest, never cut back — just buy. Buy what you don’t need with money you don’t have. Buy when you’re happy. Buy when you’re sad. Buy when you’re hungry. Buy when you want to lose weight. Buy an iPhone. Six months have passed, here, buy another iPhone. Go online and buy things. Go to the mall and buy things. On your way, stop and buy some more things. Buy things for every occasion. Buy things to celebrate. Buy things to mourn. Buy things to keep up with the trends. Buy things while you’re buying things, and then buy a couple more things after you’re done buying things. If you want it — buy it. If you don’t want it — buy it. Don’t make it — buy it. Don’t grow it — buy it. Don’t cultivate it — buy it. We need you to buy. We don’t need you to be a human, we don’t need you to be a citizen, we don’t need you to be a capitalist, we just need you to be a consumer, a buyer. If you are alive you must buy. Buy like you breathe, only more frequently.

How appropriate, then, that a holiday created by our ancestors as an occasion to give thanks for what they had, now morphs into a frenzied consumerist ritual where we descend upon shopping malls to accumulate more things we don’t need. Our great grandparents enjoyed a meal and praised the Lord for the food on the table and the friends and family gathered around it. We, having slightly altered the tradition, instead elect to bum-rush elderly women and trample over children to get our hands on cheap TVs.

For a while, Black Friday and Thanksgiving coexisted. We thanked God for His blessings on Thursday, and then jumped into the consumer mosh pit at Best Buy on Friday. But this Black Friday-Thanksgiving marriage was tenuous and rocky from the start. It was doomed to fail. Thanksgiving offers tradition, family and contentment; Black Friday offers smart phones at drastically reduced prices. In America, we all know who wins that battle. So Black Friday, like a black hole, violently expanded; it absorbed the light that surrounded it and sucked everything into its terrifying abyss, where all substance is torn to shreds and obliterated. Black Friday could not be contained to a mere 24 hours. It is Consumerism. It wants more. It always wants more. Nothing is sacred to it; nothing is valuable. So, now, Black Friday has eaten Thanksgiving alive. Thanksgiving let out a desperate cry as Black Friday devoured its soul, but we barely noticed. It’s hard to hear anything when you’re wrestling 4,000 other people for buy one get one free cargo shorts at Old Navy.

Many of the big chain retailers will be opening during, or before, dinner time on Thanksgiving. Walmart, Kmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s — all among the many electing to cannibalize Thanksgiving. Kmart will be open starting at 6 AM on Thanksgiving morning, offering great Black Friday deals for 41 straight hours. This is fortunate because I often walk into Kmart and think, “you know, the stuff in here just isn’t cheap enough.”

Will the Black Thanksgiving shopper carve a moment or two out of their busy bargain hunting schedule to break bread with their family and friends? Will they make it all the way through grace before dashing out the door, trading in tradition and merriment for cheap electronics and kitchen appliances? “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts yadda yadda — gotta go, Walmart opens in ten minutes!”

I’m willing to bet that the hoarding hordes descending upon shopping malls and retail outlets at 6pm on Thanksgiving, would, in a different context, likely speak quite solemnly about the dreaded “commercialization” of our national holidays.

Here’s a true story: a few days ago I had a conversation with a friend where we both lamented about the meaning and message of our important holidays being lost in a commercialized haze. Yesterday, this same friend posted on his Facebook page, excitedly announcing Best Buy’s earlier Thanksgiving opening time.

Yes, the man who hates the commercialization of holidays decided to become a commercial for the commercialization of holidays.

I admit, it’s easy for me to forgo Black Thanksgiving. Stay home, eat food, and drink beer, or wait in long lines at dreary shopping malls, fighting with strangers over half priced Blu-ray players? Not exactly a tough decision in my book. But even if I stumbled into some demented parallel dimension where the prospect of shuffling like a dead-eyed zombie through Target on Thanksgiving suddenly seemed appealing to me, I’d still pass. If for no other reason, this reason is reason enough: I’m not going to force some single mom to ring up my worthless purchases instead of enjoying Thanksgiving with her children.

These employees will be there, in their name tags and their vests, waiting on impatient mobs of customers while their families eat without them. They will be there with or without me. But I personally can’t be among the reasons why they will be there. I understand profit margins and competition, but I think these places ought to respect their workers enough not to rip them away from their kids during one of America’s most beloved holidays. And if I think that, I could not possibly go to one of these establishments and make them serve me.

Capitalism is great, but some things are greater. Family is greater. Yes, these folks choose to work at these stores. Yes, they likely knew when they signed up that they’d be sacrificing their Thanksgivings. Yes, at least they have jobs. Yes, sure, and so what? If that’s enough in your mind to justify participating in the destruction of a great American tradition — good for you. But you COULD wait until Friday, couldn’t you? And if you did wait until Friday, and if everyone waited until Friday, no store would ever open on Thanksgiving again, right? So you COULD take steps to protect Thanksgiving from the decay of materialism and consumerism, and, while you’re at it, give this wonderful holiday back to the customer service representatives who have been forced to abandon it and cater to the stampeding throngs, right?

Right, but then again, those skirts at JC Penny ARE super cheap.

Oh Lord, if you don’t go on Thursday to buy stuff, there might be slightly less stuff available on Friday! Think of the stuff! We must get all the stuff! The stuff must be purchased!

Family can take a backseat.

Tradition can wait.

These employees should just be grateful for the opportunity to stand behind a cash register for 14 hours while the rest of us eat our pies and drink our wine.

Thanksgiving is just a holiday.

But stuff, things, toys, gadgets — these are what life is all about.

Why give thanks for what you have when there’s so much you don’t have? That’s the new meaning of Thanksgiving: count your blessings, and then buy some more blessings and count them again.


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619 Responses to If you shop on Thanksgiving, you are part of the problem

  1. Melissa says:

    This post is great. I have been working retail for over 20 years and it is just sad how times have changed. I can’t even enjoy Thanksgiving….and honestly I have started to dread it (as sad as that sounds). When ever I complain about it my friends just say well, hospital workers, police, firemen they all have to work. HOW can they compare those to retail??? I as a retail worker appreciate your post…Thank you 🙂

    • Your “friends” need to recognize the difference between NEED and WANT. The police, firefighters and hospital workers are there to save lives. You, on the other hand, are there to sell toasters or clothing or shoes or electronics or some other non-vital thing that can seriously wait until after you have dinner and hopefully, some peaceful down time and quality time with your family. The toasters will be there tomorrow, and the next day and the next day and the next day. As for me, I am NOT going to be part of this greedfest hosted by the retailers. I am sorry I can’t say that for others. 😦

    • Angie says:

      If you break your arm on Thanksgiving (or Christmas, New Years…) then you’ll be thankful for NURSES who have to work holidays. Nurses have families too, who are eating dinner without them.

      • Shelly says:

        So you think the cashier ringing up your purchases is as important as a nurse? GMAFB. I’m sick of people making these absurd comparisons. Why not just give retail workers the same salary? Also nurses who don’t want to work weekends or holidays have the option of working at a clinic, an option not available to most retail workers and a fact which some of you choose to ignore.

      • amyjo9 says:

        Don’t worry Shelly, the previous post just went over Angie’s head. Sad.

      • Greg Zotta says:

        Hospitals, police and fireman run on skeleton crews on the actual holiday. There is no need for a retail store to be open except for greed on the part of the company and the shopper.

  2. Anne says:

    I understand what you are saying, but I disagree. If people want to go shop on any day, let them! I’ll be shopping on Hanukah, Kwanza, MLK day, Easter, Yom Kippur and what ever other holiday I want to or don’t want to. It’s my choice. So you choose not to go. Great. I choose to go. But, how is this any different than shopping on Christmas Eve? I celebrate Christmas Eve, so we open presents then. Not Christmas morning…. Am I wrong on that, too? Or do I get to say you’re wrong for celebrating Christmas morning? I think there’s a lot more important stuff to get worked up over. Just sayin’.
    I see your point about getting lost in consumerism, but I don’t think shopping on one particular day is the problem. It’s our culture that is the problem.

    • Megan says:

      The problem is people who do celebrate the holiday on it’s traditional day are being forced not to. 2 years ago the store I worked at opened at 7am on black Friday, last year it opened at 12 am on Friday. Fine, it’s Friday. This year? 5 pm on Thursday. That’s the time my family sits down to eat. Thank goodness I’m no longer working there, but I feel for my co-workers who did not sign up for this. Now they work or they get fired, just because you want to shop. Your choice takes something important away from other people, I’m glad I don’t know you. You seem very selfish.

      • KAM says:

        “Now they work or they get fired, just because you want to shop.”
        True. No one I know personally has ever put this to the test, but it has always been common knowledge that if you refuse to work on Black Friday, you are either fired on the spot or management will be looking for a way to fire you ASAP. No one had a problem with this… when Black Friday was actually on Friday. However, now that “Black Friday” is on Thanksgiving, it’s a whole different ball game. Last year we thought it was bad with 8PM and 10PM Thanksgiving sales; we didn’t know that this year would be 6PM and 8PM sales. I don’t know a coworker who wasn’t pissed off by this, especially those of us who have to be in at 2PM. However, we have no choice. Most of us can’t risk losing our job. Even if we were to stage some sort of strike or walk-out, it wouldn’t work. The high-up execs view us hourly-wage employees, and even the salaried managers that are at store level, as expendable and easily replaceable. In fact, they’d probably love such a perfect reason to fire us all, because that just means they can hire a bunch of new people at lower pay rates.

      • Kevin says:

        And I’m kind of glad I don’t know you. You seem very judgmental. If you disagree, fine, but the personal attack seems a bit unnecessary…

      • amyjo9 says:

        Megan is completely right, it is completely self-centered. And the fact that Anne can’t even see the other side is what’s really sad.

      • Kevin says:

        Get another job….but make sure it’s not a hospitality job or healthcare or civil service because they work too…..you just don’t hear them complain.

    • Kim says:

      The question is not your shopping choice, but who is working. Many working poor now work more than one part time job, sometimes 7 days a week, unable to afford better living conditions. Another question is not your shopping choice, but how we, as a consumer society, let the pursuit of consumerism override our sense of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all. Something is very upside down when denying some a day off so many don’t have to shop tomorrow. Since I refuse to shop on Black Friday, this will change when you decide your shopping choice is the question.

    • Billy Mays says:

      Anne you fat fuck go to fucking hell.

    • Greg Zotta says:

      There is no reason for people to shop that day. It is all about GREED. Most employees would rather be with their families, but are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs. So, I am speaking out for them. Companies are taking advantage of their employees due to the economic conditions and that is how Unions got started. I have always stood up to bullies and stood up for what is right and will continue to do so.

      • Kevin says:

        There it is…..the union word. Unions are worthless and out to make money for their trustees and delegates. Period.

        Did the police and fire unions keep their employees from working holidays?

        So fine….pat yourself on the back while not shopping on thanksgiving while telling anyone that will listen that you are doing it for the workers. But make sure you do it in a cold, dark home with a first aid kit so you don’t inconvenience anyone that provides those services to you. Don’t forget the cranberry save either

      • Greg Zotta says:

        Unions came about because companies were taking advantage of their workers. Hospitals, police and fireman run on skeleton crews on the actual holiday. There is no need for a retail store to be open except for greed on the part of the company and the shopper.

        • Grandpa Pat says:

          I agree 100%***

        • Kevin says:

          If you think those groups run on skeleton crews because of the holidays you are an idiot. They took their jobs fully expecting to have to work holidays…..just like retail workers are told when they are hired.

          The uproar about Black Friday and thanksgiving shopping is just as selfish as you think the people that shop on that day are.

          Who are you to tell people how they should spend they day off? Many people I know have incorporated the shopping with family to be a part of their holiday.

      • Greg Zotta says:

        Kevin writes, “If you think those groups run on skeleton crews because of the holidays you are an idiot.” No, I would say you are the IDIOT. Why do you think they run on skeleton crews on the holiday? And if people shop on the holiday, they are thinking only of themselves and NOT the people who are forced to work that day. Do you work, Kevin, if so is your company open or closed on the holiday? Your posts clearly show you to be selfish.

        • Kevin says:

          Yes I work genius…..and yes I work on holidays but I’m not forced to….it’s what I signed up for when I got the job.

          See ADULTS can make choices on their own without know-it-alls telling them what is best for them and what they should do.

          The holidays and the busiest 3 months of the year for me. You know what it’s enables me to do? Keep people working in the 3 worst months of the year.

          Get off of your soap box and get a job in hospitality and see if you hear anyone complaining about working the holidays.

          Guess what those cops do on holidays when they are running your supposed “skeleton crews”? They are voluntarily working at malls and other businesses because they want/need the extra money.

      • Greg Zotta says:

        There is no need for a retail store to be open except for greed on the part of the company and the shopper.Period.

    • amyjo9 says:

      Obviously, Anne is one of those shlepping through Wal-Mart buying cheap junk on Thanksgiving Day instead of spending time with her family. Considering her priorities, maybe her family is lucky!

  3. Joy says:

    Having lived both sides (grew up in the United States and lived there for 35 years; now live in Canada with my husband), consumerism goes more with socialism than capitalism. True capitalists capitalize. Socialists or those with a socialist mentality buy what they can with what they have and, even, don`t have assuming it will be there when they need it. In other words, socialists or those with a socialist mentality assume their needs will be met and focus solely on what they want. Capitalists seek gain – real measurable longterm personal improvement over a lifetime. I recently met a woman who, when asked what she did some 20 years ago when she only had 3 or 4 of her 13 children, she replied, oh, I made clothes, smiling and pointing to the warm sweater she was wearing. She capitalized her time, so that later she could capitalize on warmth and comfort and time with her children and their money that now goes for other things. She seemed perfectly happy doing this and her children are some of the best raised children I have ever met. Her family is entirely self-sustaining. They work very hard. Every child is entrepreneurial and they have plenty of time left over to have more fun than any American consumerist I know. By contrast, the mainstream society in which I now live is primarily socialist. It consumes some of the worst quality products at some of the highest prices. I have not met a person who is not worried about `the dollar`, who does not have MANY things, and who does not constantly worry about how much more they can get. It is a very nervous, self-centered and unhappy way to live. One final note on capitalism and that is that it gives to get. Thus, the moment we set out to get `something/anything for nothing (or the least amount possible)`, we`ve already exchanged our value for the quality and price of the things we want.

    • Cato Younger says:

      Joy, that is a tremendous response. I have always wondered why its “greed” to simply want to keep for my family what I’ve worked hard to earn, but its not greed for liberals to want theirs AND to take from other people via the government.

    • Charles says:

      Your sentiment is admirable…but your definition and use of terminology is flawed.

      You confuse economic systems with regulatory systems and mash them together with models in the ideal. Idyllics are useless when evaluating reality.

      Socialism, as the ideal, is that everyone is equal…equal pay, equal possessions, equal lives. Capitalism, as the ideal, is that each individual is responsible for their own destiny and failure and or success in the manner of which they conduct their business.

      Consumerism cannot exist in communism or socialism as everyone is, by the ideal, assured all of the same goods. Consumerism can ONLY exist in these environments when the ideal is not realize (hence why these systems are impossible, as they require utmost honesty and homogenization of humanity).

      Consumerism (at its current worst) is prevented in capitalism ONLY when every business owner, employee and customer acts with the utmost honesty and interest of others as one of their primary focus. The harsh reality is that consumerism is neccesary, at least in a small degree, in any capitalistic economy. If there are no sales…there is no capital. No capital…no progress.
      For Captislism to exist without flaw or consumerism leading to where it is today requires the utmost honesty in every party involved (hence why neither pure capitalism or communism is actually possible as any cheating corrupts the systems and cheating and greed are existent in every society to one degree or another).

      The reason I say this is because people get this wistful ideal that Capitslism is the answer…or communism is the answer…that if everyone would just do as these systems dictate then the world world be at peace. And yes, these statements are true…yet we know, realistically, that expecting utmost honesty from all humans is an impossible goal.

      My final point being that consumerism IS caused by Captislism and the realistic effects of what happens when the ideal is attempted by flawed beings. Recognizing that the ideal is impossible is of the utmost importance of checking our behavior and not assigning imaging factors to deny the inherent flaws and weaknesses of Capitalism. I do believe its the best we have…but it’s not perfect because it relies on perfection.

  4. Pingback: Buy More? Or Just Be Thankful? | treana's transitions

  5. ryan says:

    Matt, if you were single, unmarried, had no kids, were a recent college graduate, and just landed a new good job and had some extra spending money…. I gurantee you would be hittin up walmart and best buy for those $2 dvds and $10 video games. And you wouldn’t be writing blogs like this. Am I wrong or right? And if you are going to blast black friday/black thursday shoppers, what’s next? Are you going to write a blog about all men who eat turkey with the family and then head over to the TV to spend the whole afternoon watching football and napping while the wife and kids are in the other room?

    • ryan says:

      Faye (the person who just wrote below me)…was that for me? Is that a guilt trip you want me to have? I’m sorry I don’t agree with Matt on this. I think I make a good point. As far as your work schedule you deserve all the respect in the world. Yes I agree it “sucks”. But there has to be a way around this for you Walmart and Best Buy workers (I assume you work there, you didin’t specify). There has to be a way for you guys to get time off or work a holiday one year and get off the next year. Or maybe work at Walmart a couple years and then look for another job that is closed on holidays (like a bank or something). Again some of these examples I’m giving are shots in the dark because you did not get very specific in your post.

      • Callie says:

        Sorry but even if Faye worked there for a couple of years and then moved on to another job, someone else would have to take her place. That wouldn’t solve anything. There is nothing wrong with “hitting up Best Buy or Walmart to buy those $2 dvd” or what not. There is something very wrong however, about doing it on a holiday. You don’t need those dvd’s no matter much you may want them. More importantly they will be there at four am just as well as they could be there at five p.m. on Thursday. This is a self imposed deal, the companies decide when they want to open their doors. If you could just delay your gratification for a few hours, hundreds of people could spend time with their families.

      • ryan says:

        @ Callie (the other post below mine)- Well…ok mom. Yes maam, I don’t need those dvds. And what is the point of putting my modern slang in quotes like you did in your reply. I put Faye’s “sucks” in quotes because most decent people deem that a cuss word. If you are going to be disrespectful then provide a reason. I was a critical of Matt (and a little sarcastic) in my post but all my statements were commuticated with my purpose of telling Matt that he may be wrong about his blog. Again, why u putting my “hittin up walmart” in quotes?? Do you realize that comes across as disrespectful? Or, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt…do you not realize that hittin up walmart= go to walmart??

        • Elle says:

          Technically when you quote someone you tend to use quotation marks. Or did I fail my 3rd year grammar class? Hrmmm. Sorry for the sarcasm… but seriously? She wasn’t attacking you, she was quoting what you’d said. The 20s/30s age group (which is indeed my own, so I feel I’m allowed some generalization here) is quite possibly the most responsible for this whole spoiled, self-indulgent, argumentative, and excessively demanding attitude that has been souring the country the last 5-10 years. That age group aside (lest someone QQ that I’m attacking them because they happen to fall in that group and ignore the fact that I’m making a generalization in my statement), America is still overrun by this need to have more, faster, now, better, quicker, and for a lower cost of service. The fact of the matter is you can’t expect to pay $10 less for something and demand it 10 times as quickly, without reasonably creating some ill feelings from those expected to provide that service on a day where not even a few years ago they would have been resting with their families. As stated though, there’s always someone willing to take the place of those who dare speak up and say they feel that way, so most keep quiet and let their holidays, and then their regular schedules be dictated by a consumer’s drive that keeps increasing the demand on them but not giving them anything in return (such as a day off to be with family/children/friends/loved ones, or even a peaceful night of getting off work at a reasonable hour). As for the people on this blog who are posting about police, firefighters, doctors and nurses, etc. who are on call for the holidays – the need to be available to provide such a service can be argued to be compensated in part by the higher pay per hour they receive for their jobs (yes… I know, that education level and experience level play into that too… I’m not blind to this and don’t need it pointed out by someone who feels they need to justify the pay rate difference.) What I am saying is that anyone working on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas should be in the very least given compensation. Many people are blind to the fact that many retail companies offer what they refer to as holiday pay, but only for holidays they observe. By not ‘observing’ Thanksgiving and Christmas, they can now circumvent policies that may have existed for years and years at those companies, and all for what? Greed. I think that’s what this whole thing boils down to. Open the stores on a holiday? Sure. -Ask- people to work those days? No problem! But to threaten job security of long-term employees and to shift long-standing practices for the sake of one measly day’s profits… that’s the kind of pathetic, consumerism-driven attitude I think the original blog is standing up against.

      • Greg Zotta says:

        More stores are to be open on the holidays. Can we not have two days, Thanksgiving and Christmas, where people can spend time with family and be thankful for what they have? I believe in keeping some of our traditions and care about the people who will be forced to work that day, instead of being with their family. Being open on Thanksgiving or Christmas is about greed, nothing more and nothing less. The Corporations that are open are looking to make a buck and the people who shop on those days want to save a buck. The sad truth is the corporations made a buck and the people saved a buck when the stores were closed on the holiday and opened the next day. The reason the corporations are open is because there are some people who are selfish and are only thinking about the “great” deal they are going to get, forgetting about the reason for the season. These people, along with the Corporatists do not think about the employees who have to work those days and be apart from their family. What is going to happen when the companies these people work for decide to be open in coming years and the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas become just another work day? Will they even be in the mood to shop? It is up to the people to refuse to shop on Thanksgiving or Christmas at these stores to send a message to the corporations that we should keep some traditions. If the stores are open and no customers show up, what would the corporations do in the future? I would say they would be closed. There is no need for these stores to be open, because the people will come the next day like they always have and they will be able to get that great deal and the companies will still make money. Again, let’s remember the reason for the season.

      • Greg Zotta says:

        There is no need for these stores to be open. PERIOD! I believe in keeping some of our traditions and care about the people who will be forced to work that day, but they will not say anything for fear of being fired. There is no reason for people to shop that day. It is all about GREED. Most employees would rather be with their families, but are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.

      • ryan says:

        Greg, you let 2 posts and one is a novel. Not very good debate entiquette to write such a long post like that. Just hard for me to respond because my brain is so filled with general statement after general statement. You can say the stores should be closed, but I can say they shouldn’t. You can say I’m full of greed, but I can say that I’m not. But your debating skills here lack specific points that really capture the reader.

      • ryan says:

        sorry… really don’t capture the reader (that last sentence)

      • ryan says:

        But you made a good point in response to Sarah using that George Washington quote…I responded to that. Let me know what you think, lol.

      • e says:

        Ryan, why are so offended that Callie quoted you? She was answering what you said, and she used quotation marks to reference a specific part of your comment. Quotation marks are not inherently disrespectful or insulting. They indicate that the writer is quoting another person. It seems odd that you would spend your entire comment taking offense at the fact that you were quoted, rather than giving a more logical response to what Callie pointed out.

      • Donna says:

        I work at Sears. 2 years ago when I started, we were not open on Thanksgiving. Last year, we were the only store in the mall open at 8pm. We had a diff. store manager then, and I managed to not work Thurs. night since it was my dtr.’s 18th bday. I had to be in at 4am instead.
        This year, the whole damn mall opened at 8pm. I tried like hell to find another job before this day, knowing what was in store.. but no luck. We have a new store manager this year, and he literally told us that EVERYONE was working Thursday… not Black Friday, but he said ‘Everyone who works for me, works on Thanksgiving.’ One of my coworkers challenged him. Her hubby is a mngr. of another retail store and she has 2 small children. She told him she couldn’t possibly work.. and he told her, ‘If you don’t come in on Thanksgiving, I’ll consider that your resignation.’

        For some people Ryan, there is NO WAY to get time off on a holiday. You work, or you lose your job.

        Thank you to the writer of this blog. I, for certain, will be sharing it!!

      • amyjo9 says:

        @ryan, ha, does this guy seriously not know what quotation marks mean? He only uses them for dirty words? Sounds like he has been hitting up Wal-Mart instead of going to school!! LOL

      • ryan says:

        @ e. I was just asking why she put my “hittin up walmart…” in quotes. It seemed disrespectful because it’s not a cuss word or anything. It simply means “go to walmart”. But I just wanted to know why she did it. As far as responding to what she said, here you go. She wanted me to get up at 4am…I dont want to get up at 4am, its just my preference. But if walmart goes back to that system, I wont complain. No big deal. I wont call all you Matt following indecent or evil. I’m a good sport. She also said the companies decide when to open their doors. Ok, that’s fine. I dont feel like I’m being controlled by some unseen conspiracy.

      • ryan says:

        @ amyjo9. Callie wrote out “hittin up walmart…” like some irrelevant old woman who doesnt know modern slang and who is out of touch with a majority of younger americans. I know what quotes (” “) mean but I also know that its ridiculous to put quotes in at certain times. Like if you blogged “Everybody, my computer is slow”… I wouldnt say “amyjo9, you said your ‘computer is slow’? well here’s a solution… “… no smartypants, I would say “amyjo9, you said your computer is slow? well here a solution…”. Read the post again, callie was coming across as either A) she didn’t know what “hittin up…” meant or B) she is higher and better than me. Its ridiculous that I have to point this out to you. You’re the one who obviously doesnt know other people’s points are.

    • Brian says:

      Ryan, as a single, unmarried recent college graduate with no kids, a good job and some extra spending money… I agree 100% with Matt. I will be spending Thanksgiving with my family. I refuse to be a part of the destruction of one of America’s best traditions and my heart hurts for the people who have no choice because of what other people are choosing to do on Thanksgiving.

      • ryan says:

        Well good for you brian, let me know if you change your mind, i’ll be glad to email you all the black friday ads so you can go wild on black friday and destroy your decency like the trst of us

    • Curtis says:

      I doubt it. Those $2 DVD’s and $10 video games probably suck and aren’t worth the time involved in getting and watching/playing them.

      • ryan says:

        At walmart Call of duty black ops 2 is $25, the complete 6 disc lord of the rings blu ray set is $7, fifa 2014 is $25, and at best buy the new star trek blu ray is $8… Obviously, your wrong if know anything about relevant pop culture

        • Elle says:


          Yes, because the quality of how one chooses to spend their time should directly influence their knowledge of relevant pop-culture. Ryan, you are coming off a bit immature now. :3 Better stop while you’re ahead.

    • vintirex says:

      You don’t love shopping, nor do you have any real connection to this article. You just like to argue. Your opinion is nullified by your poor character.

      • ryan says:

        Ok, whatever you say

      • amyjo9 says:

        Don’t waste your keystrokes vintirex, Ryan is the perfect sheep that Wal-Mart Black Friday is directed to! We are thinking conceptually about values here and he is thinking about Call of Duty Black Ops. Bet he watches reality TV as well. What a sad state of affairs. Ha!

      • ryan says:

        well amyjo9, sorry I disagreed with matt and offended you. Matt is the one who started saying negative things about people like me. dang, my bad.

  6. Faye says:

    We were offered a choice at my job, to the first five people to sign up: Thanksgiving, or Christmas. If you didn’t sign up in time, you could possibly be scheduled for both. We simply aren’t given the option to spend Thanksgiving with our families. I don’t have children, I’m not married, but that doesn’t mean I don’t treasure the time with my loved ones when I can get it. There are very few times in a year when we can all be together. Having to sacrifice that so that someone can get their fix of stuff that can’t possibly wait 12 hours, just because I grew up in a lower social bracket than the people doing the buying? That honestly just sucks.

    • ryan says:

      Faye was that for me? Is that a guilt trip you want me to have? I’m sorry I don’t agree with Matt on this. I think I make a good point. As far as your work schedule you deserve all the respect in the world. Yes I agree it “sucks”. But there has to be a way around this for you Walmart and Best Buy workers (I assume you work there, you didin’t specify). There has to be a way for you guys to get time off or work a holiday one year and get off the next year. Or maybe work at Walmart a couple years and then look for another job that is closed on holidays (like a bank or something). Again some of these examples I’m giving are shots in the dark because you did not get very specific in your post

    • Judy B says:

      In a few years, when Thanksgiving becomes a full fledged shopping day, the rest of the employers in America will realize that the holiday is no longer special enough to warrant paid vacation and then we will all be working Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It will simply be another day like President’s Day.

  7. cullen says:

    What about the fact that it is a day where gluttony is king. People are going to be sitting around eating large amounts of food while watching football in their elastic waist pants. Most people i know are complaining about the family juggling they will do and that they have to see relatives they don’t even like. I hope you don’t cut your finger off chopping food and need to go to the hospital where a nurse will be away from her family working away to take care of you…

    • amyjo9 says:

      Missed the point of the entire post I see.

      • Charles says:

        I don’t think that Cullen did miss the point.

        Lets reverse some of the ideas presented to reflect the reality people like to ignore when idolizing holidays.

        My quotes will not be direct..but paraphrases.

        You could say “Why should the employee be forced to work on a holiday just because society insists that they want to shop?”

        I could respond.

        “Why should I be denied another day of income just because society insists that I must dedicate this day to my family? Why, as a child, was I forced to go to family gatherings that left more emotional scars and very few, if any, positive memories?”

        When using personal values to determine the way a nation should behave because you mash various behaviors, that are not actually relevant to the actual topic, to assign a “cause” you are not actually presenting a case.

        Consumerism didn’t destroy Thanksgiving. It, perhaps, assisted in its devaluing…but people who do not observe it clearly have their reasons. It could not have been overwhelmed with shopping if people did not allow it.

  8. Great thoughts! I totally agree if you shop on Thursday you are part of the problem. I honestly think they are ruining “Black Friday” as well as destroying family time. I for one will be missing time with my brother who works at Best Buy… I wrote about it from a consumer perspective to retailers! http://girloutofthebox.com/2013/11/26/black-thursday/

  9. serena says:

    What a great post! Thank you for shining a light!

  10. Tia says:

    I completely agree with you. I just want to offer the flipside…what about that single mom who is working on Thanksgiving because she’s getting paid overtime pay, and that will put gifts under her Christmas tree. I am totally on board that our society has deteriorated to such awful levels, however, this is a silver lining for some people. (PS. I’m not the single mom I speak of, but I do know a couple who feel this way.)

    • ryan says:

      Yea but its still a debate. open thansgiving vs. not open thanksgiving. If you and your fellow anti-openers win out, and they eventually close again, people like me are not going to say how “awfully deteriorated” you are for not providing something families can do together instead of watching football at 6pm after Thanksgiving dinner. Be carefull when you go around calling everybody awful and deteriorated because they go to Walmart Thursday night. You are talking to people, not dogs. Remember, the people who disagree with you are not going to call you such hurtful things if they go back to being closed on thanksgiving.

      • amyjo9 says:

        Learning how to use quotes I see. However, perhaps you should quote correctly. Tia said “that our society has deteriorated to such awful levels” not that a person who shops has deteriorated or is awful. Way to misrepresent an argument. If you don’t understand the difference between her argument and your straw-man one, then you should probably keep quite and let the grown-ups speak.

      • ryan says:

        dang amyjo9, you just don’t like me…you all mad, lol

  11. Sarah says:

    Thanksgiving isn’t a God ordained holiday… or “Holy Day”. God instituted 52 holidays a year: Sunday. We shouldn’t be shopping on that day. There is nothing wrong with shopping on a man-made “holiday” like Thanksgiving.

    • Greg Zotta says:

      As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”

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  13. KAM says:

    The major retailer I work for is only closed for the late hours of Christmas Eve and the full Christmas day. Other than that, most stores, including mine, are open 24 hours a day. Stores used to close on Thanksgiving as well, but that has gone by the wayside. My guess is that it was to appease the lazy/forgetful people that can’t properly plan ahead for their holiday meal, or the crazy people who want to do regular shopping, all who incessantly complain if their local store is closed. So there was the start of some poor souls having to work on Thanksgiving. However, the store was usually so dead that they could get by on minimal staffing. With “Black Friday” now being mostly on Thursday, nearly every employee is working at some point on Thanksgiving. On a side note, the closer we get to Christmas, the more tales I hear of customers asking if the store is open on Christmas Day. When they are informed that the store will be closed, they become incredulous as if a horrific injustice has been perpetrated against them. Many of us jokingly say that we won’t be surprised when closing on Christmas Day becomes a thing of the past and we are open 24/7/365.

    When I first started working for this company, about six years ago, Black Friday was still on Friday. Sure, some of Thanksgiving had to be spent sleeping before going to work late at night, but at least we got to be with our families for most of the day. This year many of us have to be at work at 2PM Thanksgiving Day to prepare for the sales, the first of which is at 6PM. Most families are just sitting down to eat at 2PM, but we have to be at work. Thankfully, my mom’s side of the family is small and “dinner” has been moved up to noon to accommodate this. However, this will be the second Thanksgiving in a row that I don’t have enough time to see my dad’s side of the family because of work. Some people have it far worse than I and don’t get to see their families at all.

    Long story short, I applaud this blog post. If only more people would stay home, perhaps these company execs (none of whom have to work on Thanksgiving, I’ll bet) would get it through their thick heads to put Black Friday back on Friday. Sadly, I highly doubt that will happen, due to, as was said, the consumerist, materialistic culture.

  14. Michelle says:

    I agree with Matt 100%. But I also think many stores should be closed on Sunday. It’d allow some and force others to stop running and ENJOY our lives, families & friends. The important stuff.

    • Sam says:

      so because you deem something “important stuff” you feel that others should not have full hours on their paycheck? Rediculous… you want to spend family time on Sunday? then please do so… but don’t try to short my check because I may like working on Sunday.

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  16. Sarah says:

    People shouldn’t be so legalistic about Thanksgiving. And by legalistic, I mean that in it’s truest term; adding to God’s law. I’m not trying to be mean, but that is what the Pharisees did.

    “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17)

    Some Jews were trying to require other Christians to keep the new moons and sabbaths, when they simply should have been keeping the Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Just like they weren’t required to circumcise their children, they were not also required to keep all of the festival and sabbath days.

    “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:5-10)

    And again, Paul makes it clear that we mustn’t judge each other regarding days. I do not believe he is referring to the Lord’s Day, since there is plenty of other scripture to show otherwise. So if early Christians were not required to keep the Jewish festivals, sabbaths, Old Testament Sabbath day (Saturday), and holy days, HOW MUCH MORE are we not to judge others to keep MAN-MADE holy days!!!

    “Six days you shall labor and do all your work” (Exodus 20:9). It does not say, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, except for some random days throughout the year like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter.”

    If a family member has to work on Thanksgiving, why not then have your Thanksgiving meal on Sunday? Maybe skip watching football on Sunday?

    Why would be put a man-made holy day above a God ordained Holy Day?! Please don’t stand in judgement of your brothers and sisters in Christ regarding this.

    • ryan says:

      Good thoughts Sarah. So Walmart employees have to work on Thursday… welcome to the real world guys! You have to work when its not convenient! That’s why you spend your life obeyed scripture like “Honor your Father and Mother” so that you build character so that when tough stuff and tough jobs come up in life you are prepared. I think Matt needs to quit calling Thursday shoppers the things he’s calling them and focus more on that. I have a very nice job in an office for a nice company. When means I do things that are more stressful than Walmart workers, for example, I issue reports that could cause someone to lose $ millions of dollars if I get the info wrong. One time I missed my Grandfathers funeral because I had to meet a deadline. My point is work causes stressfull circumstances. Its part of life. And that is nothing new. And it is not necessarily evil or wrong.

      • Shelly says:

        So you have a nice office job and are telling people to suck it up. You missed your grandfathers funeral, have a stressful job, but when all is said and done, you’re allowed to have a life outside of your job. Words cannot describe just how thankful I am to no longer have to rely on retail for a paycheck. It’s not worth it. I would file bankruptcy before I’d take a retail job again.
        My dad has that nice office job too, making six figures. Whereas for years he never had to work any weekends, holidays, and nights, he is now on call 24/7 and has to work overnight tomorrow. He is looking for another job now. How would YOU feel if your office all of the sudden told you and your coworkers you might have to work some weekends and holidays?

      • ryan says:

        Ya got me shelly, sorry if i offended you. I’ll be careful not to disagree next time

    • Greg Zotta says:

      As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”

      • ryan says:

        and so Greg yesterday I posted a comment and posed the question… If we are going to criticize shoppers, are we going to criticize people who wake up Thursday moring, watch Macy’s parade, eat, eat dessert, flop on the couch to watch NFL, and then take a nap. I gurantee you this has been going on for decades, and most women probably have never been very enthusiastic about watching football. They may say a prayer before the meal but the whole day is about eating, football, and napping. In other words people have been having Thanksgivings that do not look like the George Washington’s description for a long time. Is Matt going to blog this? I dont think so. Do you think all his faithfull followers would deep down agree with him if he did? Again, I don’t think so. Why be “Mr. Black Friday Policman” all of a sudden.

    • Jeff says:

      Quoting bible verses doesn’t really work when the bible also says:

      If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. (Exodus 21:20-21)

      If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:9-10)

      If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:13)

      And finally,
      For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. (Exodus 35:2)

      Also, people in this country have freedom to practice whichever religion they choose, so while you might believe that the bible is the infallible word of god, it doesn’t mean I have to respect what’s written in there.

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  18. Aubrey says:

    This actually ties in really well with your blog post about homeschool. The fact is that much of this deterioration in our culture first takes place in the government overseen “socialization” in public schools. The sad truth is that schools are not just preparing future workers for our economy, they are also training up the next generation of hyper consumers. Just think about back-to-school hype and how parents feel pressure to provide new clothes for their kids just so they won’t be mocked and bullied. Anything that promotes groupthink over indivdual thought is pro-socialism and pro-consumerism.

    • Charles says:

      “Anything that promotes groupthink over indivdual thought is pro-socialism and pro-consumerism”

      First of all…something cannot be pro-socialism and pro-consumerism. In socialism there is, at least in the ideal, nothing special or prized in the market…everyone has the same income and belongings. So that comment is non-sensical and nothing more than buzz words mashed together.

      Also, one must think as both and individual and as part of a group. If one only does one or the other than perspectives are polarized in a way that will degrade either society or value for the individual.

  19. andy says:

    I agree in part, it sucks when people are force to work during holidays. However if you truly care about people not working how about you get off your high horse and don’t watch live tv that day either or live games and parades. All the football players should be at home with their families. All the people who run TV networks should be home with family. or take it one step even further, don’t use electricity that day someone is working at the power station. this goes on and on, just enjoy your holiday with your family be thankful you have a job that gives you free time to spent with your family but keep your self-righteousness to your self..

    • ryan says:

      Thank you Andy!! Makes perfect sense. If Matt is going to write this blog he needs to assure us that he does all the things you just mentioned as well. I love Black Friday and I have no respect for this blog. He needs to stick to blogging about marriage, family, and homeschooling!

    • amyjo9 says:

      So your ability to shop is as important as maintaining power systems? Smart. Your argument demonstrates your profound inability to understand priorities and necessity.

      And Ryan, you love Black Friday? Focus, we’re talking about Thursday here and how it should actually BE Black Friday not Black Thursday.

      As for what people do family-wise on Thursday that is up to them. Many of us have memories of watching the Macy’s Day parade with our family, falling asleep on the couch and watching football with Dad. However, those are exactly that, family memories. How many touching memories will you have pushing your way through crowds in Walmart. If you are unable to appreciate what quality family time means, then that is truly sad.

      • Kevin says:

        Who are you to tell anyone else what quality family time is…..why don’t you worry about yourself and if someone else wants to shop or eat out at a restaurant or travel and stay at a hotel let them worry about it.

      • ryan says:

        yes maam amyjo9! I will focus next time!

      • Charles says:

        Actually…a persons ability to shop IS as important as maintaining power systems. Not in the same way…but as a whole they are of equal importance.

        Without the ability to shop the economy would collapse and crumble.

        But, I believe you missed the point. You are using your own personal desires and wants to evaluate how a nation should behave. You are assigning importance to a day that not everyone shares and pretending this value is absolute.

        When I was a child and still had my blood relatives in my life…family gatherings were nothing more than drunken brawls that more often than not ended up with several emergency room trips. I could do without those memories. I would rather my “family” had been working. Fortunately the moment I became 18 I cut them out of my life and no longer had a “family”…I then began crafting my own family out of friends and now a wife and child. My memories are forged with no specific date assigned.

      • ryan says:

        and Matt is apparently very understanding and sensitive towards guys like you. Its evident in his blog (yea Matt, that was sarcasm).

  20. ridureyu says:

    I am reblogging this. On my blog where I talk about collecting toys. Because consumerism goes too far even for me.

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  25. AJ Stowell says:

    What a great commentary. Thank you for articulating what many Americans feel — especially those working on Thanksgiving.

  26. Erin says:

    Matt, this post is amazing and I completely agree. In fact I was in my car about to run to CVS this morning when I realized it was Thanksgiving and I quickly got right out of my car. I don’t even care if they are open, I will not shop on a holiday. (I did not realize it was thanksgiving because I am alone for the holiday this year, my family moved across the country and I have law school finals in 10 days so I couldn’t spend 2 of my precious days traveling.)

    I even take it one step further and I do not, nor have I ever, done “Black Friday Shopping.” Sure I will run to CVS or the supermarket in the afternoon if i need something, but to me that is just a normal shopping thing and half the time I don’t even realize it is Black Friday. If stores want to have black friday deals and sales I think that is just great, however I think the stores should still open their doors at the same time they usually open their doors on Fridays. I think the Black Friday culture of shops opening at outrageously early hours of the morning is just as bad for Thanksgiving day as the shops being open on Thanksgiving day, and maybe even worse.

    If a store opens at 4:00 am, a sales employee most likely has to be there by 3:00 am. Lets say it takes them an hour to get to work (a pretty standard commute in my area), so they have to leave their house by 2:00 am. Which means they need to be up at 1:00 am to give them time to shower, eat, and wake up enough to safely drive. In order to get a full nights sleep (which they will need considering they are probably being required to work a grueling day of 12 hours or more considering stores close at the same times as normal if not later and are opening far earlier than usual.) so to get 8 hours of sleep they would need to go to bed at 5:00 pm on thanksgiving day. This is in the middle of the dinner hour. Which means family and friends will most likely be badgering them to stay with them and not go to bed. Not to mention, who can fall asleep at 5:00 pm without being sick or the help of some serious sleep aids? Say they skip the shower and just roll out of bed and go to work, they still have to be asleep by 6:00 pm. Or say they happen to live across the street and can be to work in one minute, AND they skip the shower and breakfast: they still have to be asleep by 7:00 pm.

    Not to mention those who don’t drive for whatever reason, and take public transportation to work. This means that the public transportation workers have to be going to bed to wake up at these same hours to get people to work and then to get the hordes of shoppers to the stores.


    People who utilize the food service industry on Thanksgiving Day. Whether it be ordering food for delivery or eating in a sit down restaurant or even eating at a McDonalds.

    I had invited my friend and his fiancé to my house because I knew I was going to be alone. I had an empty two bedrooms and a dining room table just dying to be used, so I figured I could cook for them (I myself have numerous dietary restrictions so I cannot eat many thanksgiving foods). I stocked up on wine and was on my way to buy a turkey and all the ingredients I would need to make a thanksgiving feast from scratch. I texted them to see what time they planned to arrive so I could determine what would be made thanksgiving day and what would have to be cooked the night before and reheated. In response I got an “Uhh, about that. We can’t come anymore. So sorry.” That was fine with me, I knew it would add an additional 45 minutes to her commute Friday morning.

    Now fast forward 5 days to today. I get a text from them asking how my day is going, etc. We are discussing our days when they tell me they are watching walking dead and ordering food. I immediately scolded them for ordering food on Thanksgiving, telling him he was part of the problem.

    But then I thought about it for about a second and realized that it really doesn’t matter how many people eat at or order from restaurants on Thanksgiving, they will stay open. I have worked in the restaurant world and we depended on holiday diners. They brought in a TON of revenue to the restaurant. Restaurants will not close if business slows or stops like stores will.

    Now, moving to the real point I want to make. Yes, restaurants are going to be open on Thanksgiving and they will have delivery drivers to even bring the food to your home. This is the nature of their business and they count on the lazy with extra money who don’t want to cook.

    I am more okay with people utilizing the food service industry on thanksgiving than I am with those who shop. That is because I EXPECT people who order delivery or dine in a restaurant on Thanksgiving (or any other family holiday) to tip excessively. When I say excessively, i don’t mean 20% or even 30%. I mean I expect you to tip 100%. Yes, the equivalent of the total cost of your meal. When I originally said this to my friend I also added in unless you are spending hundreds of dollars, but say I ordered 20 dollars worth of food, I would tip 20 dollars.

    However upon thinking more about it, I stand by my 100% tip amount. If you can afford to spend a couple hundred dollars on a restaurant prepared Thanksgiving dinner, whether in the restaurant or having a turkey dinner cooked for you and delivered to your home (which happens more than you would think, when I worked at a well known nice restaurant in the Chicago area we had hundreds of orders for this) because you are too lazy to cook it yourself (I mean really, what other reason is there for eating Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant? If you can think of one please share it with me because I am at a loss. And as to having a turkey dinner delivered, it speaks for itself.) Anyway, back to the point as I got sidetracked with all of the parenthetical phrases. If you can afford to drop a couple hundred dollars on a restaurant prepared Thanksgiving dinner because you are too lazy to cook it yourself, then you can afford to tip a couple hundred dollars to too.

    If money is an issue for you, and spending this money on the restaurant prepared thanksgiving dinner is a stretch for you so you, THEN YOU SHOULD NOT BE EATING IT. Go to the grocery store and spend $60 and cook at home. I put everything I would need to cook my thanksgiving in my cart on peapod, including things like butter and sugar and flour just to see the most it would cost. for my turkey; cranberry sauce from scratch – it is 2.50 cheaper to buy canned cranberry sauce; gravy; stuffing; dinner rolls; green bean casserole; candied yams; mashed potatoes; and pumpkin pie the total cost was $54.79. The candied yams cost $13 of that to make, so if you don’t have shredded coconut, pecans, flour, and butter on hand then you can skip this part and do thanksgiving dinner for only $41.79.

    So, to the people who choose to eat a restaurant prepared thanksgiving dinner should be tipping the total value of their meals. Now many people might argue me, saying well the server has other tables so why should I tip her 300 dollars. If all of her tables tipped her that she would make so much money. YEAH? AND THIS IS A PROBLEM? She is away from her family on a family holiday so you can be lazy and not have to cook or clean. She should be making a ton of money!

    Additionally, you are probably sitting there for hours and hours taking up her table for the entirety of her shift because you want to spend time with YOUR family on thanksgiving. Therefore, you are one of the only tables she will see that night.

    Lastly, she doesn’t get the entire tip. I think this is a point most people don’t really know or don’t fully understand. There is a procedure in the restaurant world called “tipping-out” where servers tip-out other members of the restaurant staff. The term “tip-out” means they give a percentage of the tips they have earned that night to the bussers, food runners, and bar staff. Some restaurants have the servers tip-out the host staff too, though I have never worked in a restaurant that did this, in my experience the poor host staff is left tip-less after being screamed at and treated horribly by people who blame them that there is a wait. So, after tipping out co-workers servers are generally left with about 70% of the tips they earn. Meaning, if you tip a server 20% on a $100 meal, they are taking home about $14.

    Sorry for the rant, and this could also go under your post to the non-tippers.

  27. Brooke Osborne says:

    Could not agree with you more. Greed, greed, greed. We have become a very sad society.

  28. Janet LeBlanc says:

    Amen – you echo my own lamentations. Thanks for stating “what’s wrong with this picture?” so eloquently.

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  32. Kevin says:

    If you work in retail and don’t like working holidays…..get a different job. I work in hospitality….:guess what? Hotels and restaurants are open on thanksgiving and all holidays. Not so much as a moneymaker but more of a convenience for our customers.

    I’m tired of hearing this same whiney story every year. If people didn’t like the shopping they wouldn’t go. If they so desperately need to be home on thanksgiving then they should get another job.

    My family knows what my job may hold….as do the families of gas station workers, police, firemen, television and radio hosts and the thousands of other jobs that have to work on the thanksgiving Thursday. Not to mention single parents that don’t have their kids on this holiday. Guess what was do….we work around it and we are thankful for whatever time we spend together no matter if it is Thursday or Sunday or Monday.

    I tell you what…..if you really don’t want to participate and show a protest on solidarity. Start a fire so that you don’t burden a utility worker. Don’t turn on the tv or radio so you don’t inconvenience a member of the media. Make sure you fill your gas tank on weds and extend an open invitation anyone that doesn’t have a family or friends to share with on holidays.

  33. chefbirdsong says:

    Simply put, I. LOVE. THIS. And could NOT agree with you more!


    Holidays = $$$

    the reason there’s a black friday is to sucker people in so they’ll get gifts set up for
    christmas. imagine if there was a crazy store sale before our or someones birthday.
    it’ll be tempting to get a good deal on an item for a gift.

    HAVING to give a gift to someone (birthdays/christmas)
    isn’t the same as in WANTING to give someone a gift.
    The pressure of having to get something for someone is the first problem.
    that causes stress and stress does crazy things to people.
    it’s the culture materialistic cold ways of america that the gov. wants us to
    act on and live by. why are we working on black friday? why are we working on labor day? why do we work? THE WORLD DOESN’T STOP TURNING BECAUSE OF SOME MADE UP HOLIDAY THE GOV. MAKES UP.

  35. “How appropriate, then, that a holiday created by our ancestors as an occasion to give thanks for what they had, now morphs into a frenzied consumerist ritual where we descend upon shopping malls to accumulate more things we don’t need.”

    I love this. This is exactly the great irony of Black Friday – it undermines the meaning of generosity and simplicity and what Thanksgiving is about. Black Friday is only a gross example of American consumerism, however, and the lengths we will go to to celebrate holidays by buying stuff.

  36. This is such a great post. Not only do I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving, but I also refuse to shop on Black Friday and the whole darn weekend. We won’t even shop online this weekend. I wish more people would join us in this rejection of the need for more and more cheaper stuff.

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  40. Charles says:

    There are elements of his post that I both agree with and disagree with.

    A primary one being the claim that consumerism and capitalism are not intertwined. They are inexorably linked. Capitalism requires the generation of profits…profits are generated by sales. Therefore the strength of a capitalistic economy is measured in its capital.

    The reason one leads to the other is because both are driven by the same thing…the production and consuming of goods. Companies increase capital and viability by increasing profits…this is only achieved by making money. If you have a nation that is not driven to spend then the viability of a capitalistic economy falters. Goods are not being consumed at the same rate…so either prices go up or production goes down. To have a capitalistic society that is not diven by “consumerism” that works would require sacrifices on all parties involved. The business owner would need to be driven by something other than profits…the employee would have to be okay with having severely reduced hours and sparse pay that would reflect the nearly non existent sales in that market. Food would be one of the very few businesses that would thrive…and it would have to support nearly the entire populace in employment and pay. See how difficult capitalism is when capital is not the drive? I do not like the fact that this is what is necessary…but not liking something does not invalidate it.

    As far as holidays. I have mixed feelings. I like the idea of spending time with my family. The family I have is the one I helped build…as far as family from mothers and fathers and cousins and such…before I had a wife I had no such things. So I didn’t really care about holidays and I appreciated working so I didn’t have random days off that I didn’t need.

    Then we have to determine what kind of holiday it is. Is it national or religious? If its religious…such as Christmas…then only those of that faith can expect to get it off. Though as a nation we did a rather good job of secularizing it for those that observe it for personal reasons…and as a result the nations businesses (on the whole, there are exceptions) were forced to acquiesce and give that as a day off. I see nothing wrong with such…as December 25th (and that general period of the year) was also celebrated as the Winter Solstice and other celebrations of the changing of the seasons by many cultures who had never even heard of Christ.

    National holidays are murky…some were merely intended as national observances…while others were intended as days of rest and reflection. Thanksgiving was intended as a day of rest and reflection…flag day is a national observance.

    But we have to consider that decisions are based on the whole and not the individual. People, as a majority, seemed to have decided that thanksgiving no longer be considered a day off. Perhaps this attitude will shift…perhaps it will not. In the end I think we really need to understand that a holiday is only a holiday if the majority of the nation agrees that it is neccesary. I hold no need for any holiday to give thanks or show my love for my family. I have no need for a day to be reminded that my role of a father is appreciated and important. I try to live and recognize these things on a daily basis.

  41. Charles says:

    After all…couldn’t one simply say. “Why is your family time more important than the hours I could be working to further ease the financial burden upon mine?”

    Just remember…we are all driven by a selfish (not necessarily self-centered or “evil”) desire in such arguments. You want your family time because its important to you. But what if someone else has a different view and does not wish to have a specific holiday off? Do you get to tell them “too bad…I want my day off because my reasons are more important than yours.”?

  42. Lora says:

    I have a couple remarks on this, belatedly:
    As a mom and wife, I always bust my butt on Thansgiving Day. It’s called cooking. Sure, my kids are learning the ins and outs. But it’s one Olympic event for me that I often do on my own. I have learned to do much of it in a way that helps me reflect on the sacred nature of gratitude rather than making it hectic and frazzled. All the same, I may end up going out to eat on Thanksgiving one of these days. I will be grateful to the owners of the eating establishment that gave me a holiday break.
    I see no point in shopping on this day. If we lose our holidays, we might lose our Sabbath days…oh, wait, too late for that. Already had a boss who required work on Sundays.
    Football is next to nothing to me. That’s just the way it is for me. I dare the football fans to put up their remotes and spend some real life time helping in t he kitchen. And if you already do, then I say thank you.

  43. Charles says:

    By the way…has anyone researched the origins of Black Friday? It didn’t start out as a means of greed.

    Also the reason it’s name is Black Friday is because its the one day of the year that the majority of businesses go from being in the red to being in the black, in other words its the one day of the year nearly the entire economy is profitable.

    Since we are arguing about history and tradition….

    • Greg Zotta says:

      Not according to Al, Not So Sharp, Sharpton; he says black Friday is RACIST.

      • Charles says:

        Oh yes…I remember that. It’s amusing because the only other, possibly verifiable, origin comes from the Philadelphia police department which referred to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday to describe the massive congestion and traffic jams that occurred from so many travelers and shoppers. Admittedly there is a lot of debate between the two origins…but the claim that it was racist is simply unsupported (as you clearly understand with your glib reference to its source).

      • Grandpa Pat says:

        That’s because Al, Not So Sharp, Sharpton is RACIST**

  44. Grumpyfin says:

    You…………….no one and I mean NO ONE could have said it better! Very nice editorial.

  45. Charles says:

    A final comment. I don’t know if any of the posters will see this…but those attacking Ryan…let me make a few observations.

    I saw many character attacks. I saw one state that (paraphrased) “the person only said that society as a whole is displaying a lack of value and character in this behavior, not a judgement of you”. First of all…that’s utter nonsense. You cannot claim that a certain behavior reflects a degrading of social values then claim that those who exhibit your claimed empty values are not included. By the very nature of saying that, in relation to the topic, shopping on Thanksgiving and not agreeing that it needs to be a work free day displays a lack of character and values; you are indeed acusing anyone who exhibits this behavior of having said qualities. I despise these attempts at escaping responsiblity for accusations.

    Furthermore. Who are any of you to claim that things should go your way. For all the accusations of Straw man setups some of you were the worst. You attributed his lack of observance of Thanksgiving as automatically being attributed to greed and not caring for others. Yet you don’t know his motivations. I do not see Thanksgiving as neccesary..I ask to work on that day to increase my income. I have a family and I get enough days off and time with them to appreciate and show my love. Am I to be expected to reduce my income (sure it’s only a day…but if you add up all the possible holidays that could be forced it would severely decrease my income as I make a rather nice wage) simply because others decided they want that day off? Is this not selfish as you are not accounting for my needs?

    In the end, and I’ll say it again, this is an argument of selfishness on ALL parties. You try to argue your values are better and more important than Ryan’s, or mine. You imagine multiple factors that loosely correlate to the subject and mash together buzz words and straw men to support these claims. Argue that Thsnksgiving is important…support your views…but insisting that your personal values are inherently more important or viable than another’s is lunacy.

  46. Pam says:

    Yes, yes, yes. This is spot on. I hate the whole concept of Black Friday and hate it even more now that it has taken over Thanksgiving. You said it all so well.

  47. sarah says:

    You overlook one important thing – some of those single moms would happily forgo a traditional thanksgiving meal for an extra paycheck with which to feed those children waiting at home.

  48. Dave says:

    Great post Matt. The funny thing is the “deals” you get on Black Friday can be found all year round if you shop online. The deals on Black Friday and now Black Thursday really aren’t that much better than things you can get on Amazon, eBay, tigerdirect, newegg, etc.

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