“Black Thanksgiving”: It Is Time to Draw the Line

One of the signs of advancing age is growing nostalgia. I no longer ridicule those who say, “back in my day” since I’m often now the one saying it. Oh, I’m not anti-technology, nor do I automatically think that things were better back in my day. But I am convinced that there was one thing dramatically better back in my day.

Thanksgiving.

We would have a large gathering of family and friends; the meal started around noon. Turkey. Dressing. Mashed potatoes. All the expected delicacies! Grandma made ambrosia with fresh Florida oranges  and shredded coconut. After the food came the football. No, back then we did not just watch football, we played it. My brother and cousins and whomever else was around would get a backyard game going. The Cowboys and the Lions had nothing on us for intensity. Then we started in on the turkey sandwiches and other leftovers. When I lived in the USA (not counting my years in Taiwan) we generally watched the Cowboys game. It was a day I looked forward to all year long; a day I hated to see end.

But I can tell you one thing that was never even a small part of a single celebration of Thanksgiving in all those wonder years when I was growing up.

Shopping.

There was a simple reason for that. It was Thanksgiving. Stores were closed. You might have been able to find a gas station open somewhere,  but department stores, grocery stores and just about every other commercial establishment had the doors locked and the lights off. If you forgot the milk you’d have to find a cow or do without.

Frankly, if Black Friday was an institution back then, I never heard about it. It may have been in its infancy, but it was not the frenzied pagan festival that it has become today.

A couple of years ago, I was upset that the only store I’ve ever stood outside of on Black Friday morning, Best Buy, was joining with other stores to start the madness at midnight, instead of 5 am. That meant that if you wanted to get any of the doorbuster deals they would offer, you’d have to spend your Thanksgiving camped out in the parking lot. That is just no way to spend Thanksgiving.

Now, though, the high priests of Mammon have upped the ante. No longer is Thanksgiving to be the calm before the Black Friday storm. Now, it is the maelstrom itself. Best Buy, Walmart and several others stores have decided that money is more important than family, and they are opening on Thanksgiving day.

And this is one old codger who is ticked!

I realize we live in a post-Christian, pagan culture. I realize that some people have always had to work on Thanksgiving. I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving when a tragedy befell a family in my previous church. Life happens. But there is simply no good reason to open stores on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t they make enough green on Black Friday?

There is one thing that is clear. Stores like Walmart and Best Buy cannot be appealed to on the basis of morality or of right or wrong. They do not care about such things. They care about one thing and one thing only – the bottom line. They serve the God of the Black Ink. When you read the justifications some of these stores have given for their crass decision to open on Thanksgiving, you find kind of word-play that would have made George Orwell’s Big Brother proud.

There is only one language these people understand. Money. Profit. Business. If we don’t shop there, they won’t stay open. So, I would suggest the following.

1) Don’t shop on Thanksgiving. Just say no. Don’t do it. There’s no deal that is worth missing time with family.

2) Let the companies know that you think this is a bad decision. Be respectful. A well-written and direct letter or email is much more effective than angry or threatening words. Bluster is not only ineffective, but counter-productive.

3) Talk to the manager of your local store – again, politely. Most stores take those things seriously.

Maybe I am just an old fogey. but this is a big deal to me. I’m not against Black Friday. I’ve gotten some pretty good deals! But I think that turning Thanksgiving into a bacchanalia of commercialism is just not right.

Who agrees with the old codger? If you do, this might be a good time to take a gentle, polite, but firm and unyielding stand.

 

Comments

  1. Bob Browning says

    I’m not in my 80’s – rather I was born in the 80’s… but I agree wholeheartedly, except I could do without football altogether – but that’s a different discussion.

    I pray that we can all guard against materialism and truly focus on what we’re most thankful for.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    -Bob B.

    • Dave Miller says

      Ahem…I’m not in my 80s either!!!
      I still have several years before I reach 60, thank you.

      Materialism is the enemy of the soul!

      • cb scott says

        Here I stand also. The only store I ever go to on the Friday after Thanksgiving is a gun store for more ammo depending on how much we shot up on Thanksgiving Day afternoon. A guy never needs to be low on ammo, especially going into the weekend.

          • cb scott says

            Check the Evergreens and Pines this time of year. If you don’t find Bambi, you shall surely find his mother. May you enjoy a one shot, one kill experience on Saturday.

            As for me, I will be watching the SABANATION give the AUBURN NATION a lesson in hunting and skinning Tigers.

            Have a great Thanksgiving and ROLL TIDE!!!!

          • says

            The feed plot has sprouted where the thin finger of woods juts out past the backwater ditch, near the reservoir.

            They’ve been fattening up on soybeans all year, and now are munching down some oats and wheat. Taking one of the kids this year, hoping to fill the freezer for us and some friends.

          • says

            CB,

            I am back in The Loveliest Village on the Plains and ready for the biggest Iron Bowl in many years. Please send Lord Saban a text message and tell him to go easy on our Tigers. Don’t embarrass us in our own place. Just treat us as nicely as you did the college from Chattanooga.

            War Eagle from Auburn, Alabama!

        • Adam G. in NC says

          In my area, Thanksgiving is also one of the biggest hunting days of the season. Folks who only visit once a year get to go out in the woods together and burn some powder. Beats football any day (we hunt deer/rabbits with beagles, so it’s still a team sport).

  2. cb scott says

    Hey, Dave Miller!

    Since no one has mentioned it today, I shall reluctantly do so.

    Game one of the play-offs for the NCAA National Championship of the FOOTBALL UNIVERSE will be will be played on Saturday at 3:30. I am sure all of you Sports Fans will be cheering on the SABANATION as they defeat the AUBURN NATION, taking one more step toward a Threepeat.

    Can you hear it?!

    I can!!

    It is ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!

    • Dave Miller says

      One good thing about the Auburn Tigers – they unite all people of good will to cheer for them this week.

    • SVMuschany says

      As a Mizzou fan, I would say that Mizzou would have a better chance in the SEC Championship against Auburn rather than Bama. As I am also a Bama fan, I just can’t root for Auburn. I guess I can be happy to have Bama in the NC, and Mizzou in the Sugar. That would be a nice January for me.

      • cb scott says

        That was an extremely sensible and rational comment there, SVMuschany.

        Obviously it is because you are a FOOTBALL Fan of SEC NATIONS. Only SEC FOOTBALL NATION Fans have the cognitive ability to think in such gargantuan depths of comprehension about FOOTBALL.

        Have a great Thanksgiving and ROLL TIDE!!!!

  3. Christiane says

    A Very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
    May you share your blessed abundance with your families and with any and all that the Lord has placed within the circle of your care.

    This IS the time for Family.
    Good reminder, DAVID: we can all shop on Friday soon enough.

    “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.”
    (Psalm 126:3)

  4. says

    I disagree. I mean, I mostly agree, yet still disagree.

    I agree that Thanksgiving is about family. It’s a day for all non-essential personelle to be off and enjoying time with their families. It’s a day to watch football on tv with your family.

    But wait…how many people need to be working in order for football to be on tv on Thanksgiving? You have the players themselves, the referees, the television station workers, and you also have quite a few concession and souvenir stand workers I’m sure. So the tradition of watching football on tv is interrupting possibly hundreds of people from the traditions they would like to be engaging in with their families.

    I’m not saying you need to stop watching football. I’m actually advocating for the opposite. Keep watching it. That’s your tradition. And let shoppers shop if they want to. That’s their preference, and maybe they’re counting on those deals in order to give a few nice gifts for Christmas.

    Two things to consider: 1) the Bible never establishes Thanksgiving as a holiday, but 2) it does tell us to give thanks in all circumstances. So we ought to be thankful even when Thanksgiving is different than it was in the good old days. And we should be thankful even when we have to work on a day traditionally (in our culture) dedicated to family.

    I’m all for Thanksgiving being a day given to all of us as a day to spend with family. But that’s not going to happen. People are still going to go shopping, and people are still going to watch football on tv. But no matter what the circumstance, we can be thankful to God for His many blessings.

    • Dave Miller says

      It is a matter of degree. I’m not arguing a utopian Thanksgiving or advocating some kind of Amish style day.

      But the number if people who have to work the football game is in the thousands. The number working Walmart, Best Buy and other big stores is closer to the millions.

      And I am not arguing for legislation nor consigning shoppers to the flames of hell. But I am saying that if enough of us don’t go tomorrow, maybe next year the trend will be reversed.

      • Adam G. in NC says

        If enough of us dont go tomorrow, next year they’ll market bibles and “Noah” dvd’s half-off.

      • says

        Is it about the numbers, or the principle? It reminds me of that old illustration of the kid who throws starfish washed up onto the beach back into the ocean. “You can’t save the all, kid.” “No, but I saved that one.”

        If it’s about the principle, then the numbers shouldn’t matter. You should want all people, including people working because of the football games, to be home with thir families. They deserve that, too.

        If it’s not about the principle, then the numbers certainly don’t matter. Why should anyone get the day off at all? You seem to be arguing on the basis of principle, but then switch it to a numbers game. It doesn’t work that way.

        I’m not going shopping today (and probably not tomorrow either), but I would have if I had not already found a great deal online for what I was looking for. I fully support your decision to stay home and watch football, even though it causes others to have to work. Because there’s nothing morally wrong about working or causing others to work on Thanksgiving. It might cause them to be grumpy, but I can’t cause them to have thankful hearts, which is what the Bible commands all of us to have: not that we celebrate Thanksgiving, but to be thankful in any and every circumstance.

  5. Greg Harvey says

    The left is pushing this issue in order to organize workers at Wal-mart to “re-invigorate” private employee unions. In all honesty, it’s like the blue laws: if people find it convenient, it’s nearly impossible to sustain a movement against it.

    As a nurse pointed out to me yesterday, there are always some people who work on these family-first holidays. Usually the ability to get those days off were due to essentially a trading of economic interests: if you could find someone willing to work then you traded shifts. Now that’s a tradition that is American as the day is long: create an economic incentive to interest another person into participating in an exchange of goods or services!! ;)

    • John Wylie says

      I was thinking the same thing yesterday. I used to work for the city of Abilene, TX in their waste water treatment facility and it was a 24/7 365 operation. The only way to get off for Thanksgiving or Christmas was for your regular days off to fall on those days.

  6. says

    Dave sounded good till hunting was brought up…shopping is how I hunt….or compete rather than football. Now I’m conflicted! Is Goodwill open? Darn!

  7. says

    We are invited today to eat deep fried turkey with friends for a combined Thanks Hanukkah meal. We don’t do what you might think…just read Maccabbees’ historical account of the abomination that causes desolation and Daniels prophesy as well as Jesus’ telling us what to look for in our day and contemplating this with the Lord.

    You may be surprised to learn there is no mention about oil lasting 8 days. However what i have surmised is that the 8 days may refer to emulating Solomon’s and Ezras temple dedications.

  8. Ed B says

    I agree with your sentiments but stores will not open if customers do not storm doors so early. In this case the merchants are reacting to market demand. If a holiday Sabbath was what America wanted the stores would have remained closed, but even in the Bible Belt the stores will be jammed full of customers bright and early….or very dark and very early.

    I will do as I always do and completely ignore black Friday. I will sleep in a little tomorrow after awaking from my sugar coma.

    Happy Thanksgiving all.

  9. cb scott says

    Well, I trust all you Sports Fans had a grand Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. For many, tomorrow will be a return back to work and thinking about turkey salad sandwiches for dinner when you get home. Yum, yum and Oh boy, ya think?

    Just remember, Saturday is on its way. Specifically, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

    The Iron Bowl will bring the SABANATION one more game closer to a Threepeat. Need I say more?!!! Oh yeah, one more thing:

    ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!

  10. Dwight McKissic says

    CB,

    The best laugh that I’ve had in awhile was your response to the Housing Allowing Ruling in Wisconsin. Your response: Roll Tide Anyhow!!! That was great comic relief to what could be a significant financial blow to many of us. Thanks CB. Happy Thanksgiving!! You have made a believer out of me Roll Tide, Roll inasmuch as the Razorbacks( I’m a native of Arkansas) nor the Longhorns, are not going to compete for the National Championship this year, I might as well say it again, Roll, Tide Roll.

    • cb scott says

      Dwight,

      Please share your new found happiness with Dave Miller. Let him know the thrill of cheering for a winner. He has never had the opportunity to be a Fan of a real FOOTBALL NATION and know the joy of such an experience.

      Dwight, now that you are a Sabanite, you will need to wear Crimson and White on Saturdays and eat B-B-Q. The type of B-B-Q and animal it comes from is up to you as long as it is not that vinegar based disaster they call B-B-Q in the TARHEEL NATION.

      I am glad you came over to the SEC and the SABANATION. Your doing so gives me hope for guys like Dave Miller and Dale Pugh.

  11. cb scott says

    Well Sports Fans, the day has arrived. Let me first state that no matter what kind of B-B-Q you like, be it legitimate B-B-Q or that diesel fuel drenched mess from NC, it is time to start thinking about it and making your plans of attack during the pre-game show and at half-time to get your fill, ’cause you want to be happy and well fed as you watch the SABANATION bring a beatin’ on the AUBURN NATION.

    My day started with smoked sausage and bacon, with biscuits and fresh made Georgia Cane Syrup, a delicacy I have come to appreciate since coming to reside in the BULLDAWG NATION. (Who, BTW, cannot stand the test of the SABANATION. Of course, who can)

    ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!

    • says

      cb, I had forgotten you lived in the Bulldog Nation these days. Those were memorable days, when I lived just shy of the mountains up I-75.

      May your elephants roll today, but if I see an elephant, I’m likely going to jail for shooting it. The freezer is empty, but I could fill it right quick :)

      • cb scott says

        Doug Hibbard,

        Sorry you have not gotten a deer yet. I have an idea. Take a Sharpie and write “TIDE” on the cartridge casing. Doing so will remove all obstacles standing between you and victory.

  12. Tarheel says

    CB, your scurrilous attacks levied on NC BBQ are so offensive that I’m about to haveta go off. ;-)

    I wonder though if you’re you refering to “eastern” or “lexington” NC BBQ as being “diesel fuel laced”?

    • cb scott says

      Tarheel,

      I have children and grandchildren in NC and the best seminary on the planet is located in Wake Forest. One of the finest hospitals in the world is Duke. On two occasions God spared the life of my wife using the highly skilled medical professionals who work there. I have a great fondness for the state for many reasons. If basketball could possibly be considered a Sport, I would be a Fan of UNC and Duke.

      However, I have eaten TARHEEL NATION attempts at B-B-Q from Cherokee to Kitty Hawk and I just have to tell ya; It ain’t fit to eat no matter from where in the state it is produced. You folks know more ways to ruin hogs and chickens than the folks in any other state in the nation.

      Sorry, Tarheel, but when it comes to FOOTBALL and B-B-Q, you North Carolina boys just ain’t got it.

      • Christiane says

        C.B.
        you silly, you probably forgot to put fresh coleslaw on your BBQ

        if you’re going to eat Carolina BBQ, the coleslaw is a part of the experience

        there isn’t a person alive that wouldn’t love that combo

      • Adam G. in NC says

        You may be right about football, but we do know how to cook a pig…lots of ‘em. We might even cook an elephant in the ground if it doesnt stink too bad. We dont have a season for ‘em, so we’ll just wait till they CHOKE.

        Your brain would have to be as twisted up as your taste-buds if you think its possible to be a fan of Duke and Carolina.

  13. John Wylie says

    I hate to disappoint my SEC brethren, but the best BBQ this side of Heaven is in Davis, OK. The first time I ate it, I went and slapped my mama.

    • cb scott says

      John Wylie,

      I just never could take a likin’ to horse meat no matter how it was cooked. I always had a problem with eatin’ what I rode into town on, but I don’t guess it bothers SOONERS much does it?

    • cb scott says

      BTW, John Wylie,

      There is something else wherein we SEC boys are highly different from SOONERS.

      We don’t ever, not ever “slap our mamas.” We love our mamas.

    • Dwight McKissic says

      CB,

      I ate the best rib eye steak in my life at a bar-b-que Restaraunt in Davis, Oklahoma. I am rootin for Bama today, but I promise you, if u ever eat that steak in Davis, you’ll holler Boomer Soon-er, I’m sorry; you’ll holler even in Sooner Country…. Roll, Tide Roll.-:). I may drive u up there to eat one of those steaks whenever you come down this way. John is a great hosts. Anyway, Roll, Tide Roll.

      • cb scott says

        Dwight,

        On some fine day, I will have to take you to the Golden Rule B-B-Q in Birmingham and you will eat a meal that will bring happiness to your heart and when you close your eyes to sleep that night you will dream you are a young man once again walkin’ with your wife through fields of ambrosia while your children sing you both praises and your church members call you blessed.

        Now that is what a good Alabama B-B-Q dinner will do for you.

        Oh yeah, ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!! It ain’t long now, baby!

        • Adam G. in NC says

          Beef aint BBQ and only in Alabama would they get the mayo outta the trash and make BBQ sauce out of it.

          • John Wylie says

            Beef most certainly is BBQ. BBQ brisket is the bomb. I do prefer pork ribs though. And for what it’s worth I happen to love NC BBQ.

          • Adam G. in NC says

            I’ve had some real good beef, but we just dont call it BBQ here in NC. BBQ is always pork and mostly chopped or shredded…pulled if your feelin lazy. BBQ is also not BBQ chicken.

  14. Roger Simpson says

    CB:

    When you mention the Golden Rule BBQ are you talking about the one on Crestwood Blvd. in Irondale?

    According to my research that location is the original location. I don’t know if that makes it special or not.

    • cb scott says

      Roger Simpson,

      You are correct. It is the original and the pit is older, which makes the B-B-Q better.

    • Jake Barker says

      CB,
      Crimson Crud beaten by Auburn…..beat them everywhere but on the scoreboard. What the heck? Where is the overtime? The refs get paid off not to order otime?

      • cb scott says

        Les Prouty,

        You AUBURN NATION boys ruled the day. The year could just be yours again like in 2010. It would be fitting. Five years in a row the crystal stays in the state of Alabama.

      • Les Prouty says

        CB, you may be right. We still have to deal with my current home state Mizzou Tigers first.

        And let me say…you are gracious in being on the short end of the Iron Bowl score. A man’s way to be, even in defeat.

        Les

  15. Tarheel says

    Does Auburn have a legit route to #1 now?

    FSU and OSU thinking they do too….

    Next weeks championship games gonna be important!

    • cb scott says

      Tarheel,

      The AUBURN NATION is a SEC NATION. Therefore, they do have a legit route to the National Championship. All you Lesser Conference Fans need not get your hopes up.

      The National Champions will again be from the SEC.

        • cb scott says

          That is just SOONER talk and you know it, John Wylie. You know good and well only a SEC NATION is worthy of the National Championship. You need to become a Fan of the SEC and then you can enjoy the FOOTBALL season.

          Why spend the rest of your life like Dave Miller, off pouting about things that will never happen, such as a FOOTBALL NATION located in Oklahoma or Iowa being a winner of the National Championship?

      • says

        The whole BCS could just implode if OSU and FSU falter in the conference championships.

        Throw in Missouri beating Auburn in the SEC championship, and then it would get really odd.

        I would be surprised to see both OSU and FSU slip next Saturday, but if they do, I could see another Rematch National Championship as possible.

          • Adam G. in NC says

            Yep. Cutcliffe deserves coach of the century. Not a Duke fan, but for them to be even considered in the top 25 was unthinkable just a little while ago. They were pitiful.