15 November 2013

Is Thanksgiving Really Extinct?

Thanksgiving - and the start of the Christmas holiday season - is just around the corner.  As I reported about this same time last year, Thanksgiving is a time to be with friends and family, a time for big dinners and all the rites and rituals of Thanksgiving (being the grand entry way into the holiday season) including the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade shown on your local NBC affiliate (here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, that would be WFLA-TV Channel 8) and the constant stream of holiday music that kicks off the season.

I got to agree, the holiday season is my favorite time of year.  It truly is.  Except to Corporate America, who wants to throw Thanksgiving in the trash by opening retail stores for the sole purpose of making a quick buck when in fact Thanksgiving is a day of rest.  Back in my younger days, I remember when practically everyone was closed on Thanksgiving Day as well as Christmas Day, save for the neighborhood convenience store around the corner for those last minute items you need.

This article I found at TruthOut.org really has me tiffed.  I cannot understand why more and more retailers are breaking tradition and opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  What these retailers that want to open on Thanksgiving Day are trying to do is to make that quick buck at the expense of their employees having to work on Thanksgiving Day instead of being with their families.  After all, being open for business on Thanksgiving Day is not right.

Here in St. Petersburg, we have one grocery retailer that has a long standing tradition of not being open on Thanksgiving:  Publix Super Markets.  That's the way it should be:  Thanksgiving is a time for family, not for making a profit.  For that reason, this is why I do my grocery shopping at Publix.  (And more friendlier staff!)

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry on Thanksgiving, if the founder of Publix, George Jenkins, ever found out that his stores were open on Thanksgiving Day, he would be very sad to see what Corporate America is doing to Thanksgiving.

But two other supermarket chains here in St. Petersburg prefer to be open, all in the name of customer convenience:  Sweetbay and Winn-Dixie.  Sweetbay from what I understand is in the process of being bought out by Bi-Lo Holdings of Jacksonville, the same company that owns Winn-Dixie.  Even when Sweetbay is finally bought out and the Sweetbay name disappears from the St. Petersburg grocery landscape, Winn-Dixie - and their open on Thanksgiving Day policy - will still be around.

So, who is planning to be open to a degree on Thanksgiving Day?  According to an article in USA Today as mentioned in the TruthOut.org article, you'll be surprised:

Target:  8 PM
Best Buy:  6 PM
Macy's:  8 PM
Kohl's:  8 PM
KMart:  6 AM Thanksgiving morning - just what is going on here?

And one more place we can't forget:  McDonald's, which used to have a closed on Thanksgiving Day policy until recently.  It used to start by being only open during breakfast hours; now it includes lunch and dinner like any other day.

Just what is going on here with Thanksgiving Day being thrown on the back burner by Corporate America wanting to make a quick buck?

Like I mentioned last year, here's my take on Corporate America being open on Thanksgiving Day for the sole purpose of making a quick buck, and it's well worth repeating here (in other words, I am going to say it again): 

1. Being a native born American citizen, I firmly and strongly believe in all the holidays that America celebrates, including Thanksgiving as well as Christmas. 

2. If Corporate America does not want to have anything to do with Thanksgiving, then have your corporate eons lobby Congress to repeal Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Believe me – it won’t happen; Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in tradition as an American national holiday to begin with, going back to the days when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and earlier when Juan Ponce De Leon landed on the Florida east coast near St. Augustine in 1513.
3. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays to be with family and friends. As such, I do not conduct any business on Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.  Besides, I was born and raised in an era where retailers were closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas (and we knew better to stock up on things before the holidays); unfortunately, today we live in an "I gotta have it right now" era - an era of instant gratification.
4. Finally, if the spirit of the American holidays – especially the fall holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas – offend you in any way, please consider leaving the United States of America and find another country where our American holidays are not celebrated, especially a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

We cannot let Thanksgiving as well as Christmas become extinct, thanks to Corporate America that think these holidays are a nuisance. Thanksgiving and Christmas - along with America's other major holidays - are not a nuisance; instead our nation's holidays are part of our heritage.  Besides, you have a right to express your disapproval by not spending your hard earned money at retailers who intend to be open on Thanksgiving Day.

In short:  Let's take back Thanksgiving and what it really means to America.  The same thing with Christmas.

Onward with the holiday season!

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