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Carpe Turkey Diem

I make no apologies for the following rant. It has nothing to do with life insurance or annuities; tax-exemptions or community service activities; solvency, relevance, or governance. It has to do with values – values that appear to be withering under the relentless attack of American retailers.

Almost everyone I know agrees that Thanksgiving is the best of all holidays. It combines the three most unifying “f” words – family, food, and football – without the requirement of (or financial pressure) of gift-giving. About the worst thing you can do is overcook the turkey. So, lather it with a little more gravy. Or, better yet, do what we do and make the bird a second act to the antipasto, lasagna, and cannoli.

But retailers keep encroaching on this most wonderful of celebrations by moving the starting time of “Black Friday” a little earlier each year. I remember stores opening at 7:00 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. I found this mildly annoying, but tolerable – especially since I do 99 percent of my Christmas shopping online.

Then it became a race to the bottom as major retailers began competing to see who could open earlier or attract more “bargain seekers” by offering “door busters” – special deals on a few big ticket items available only to those willing to camp out overnight – on Thanksgiving, may I remind you – to get them. Some bargain.

This year several stores will kick off the Christmas buying season by opening at midnight on Friday. That’s right, you can go almost straight from the table to the store with barely enough time to force down an Alka-Seltzer.

Personally, I find this type of competition disgusting. It undermines the spirit of Thanksgiving and reduces both the quality and quantity of time people can spend with their families – families who today are often far flung and may only have a few chances a year to see one another. And please don’t tell me that standing in line at Wal-Mart with your sister-in-law is quality time, because it isn’t.

So, in the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, I am organizing my own demonstration to be known as “Carpe Turkey Diem.” It’s easy to participate. Just stay home on Friday morning until a decent hour – let’s say 8:00 a.m. – and send a message to retailers that says, “We’re going to buy stuff for Christmas, but not until we’ve had a chance to hug our families, perform our morning ablutions, and fill up on Aunt Mary’s pizelles!”

That’ll show ‘em…

Disclosure Notice: The author is a member of one of those far-flung families who will be able to come together as a group only once this year – at Thanksgiving. The author is also married to a wonderful woman who works for a major national retailer who will be at her post at 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night getting ready for the midnight opening of the Black Friday sale. The author is none too pleased about this because he’s going to have to eat his Aunt Mary’s pizelles by himself that morning.

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011
:  “Wow, I write about regulatory issues and no one responds.  But I write about Black Friday excesses and you come out of the woodwork.  Thanks for all those comments!  There are at least 12 of us that will be sending a message to retailers this year: “Yes, we want a flat screen TV at a deep discount – but we want it at noon and not midnight!”. BTW, my Aunt Mary’s recipes and contact information are secret, so if you want some you have to come by the house over the holiday.  I’ll be waiting for you…

12 Responses

  1. Joe, You have hit the nail on the head. Soon Christmas shopping will begin the day after halloween. I will join you boycott of early Friday morning shopping the day after Thanksgiving by sleeping in until about 9 a.m. Dave Blazek

  2. I agree 100%. The retailers will not see me anytime before noon on Friday. I really doubt they will see that soon.

  3. Your Best One Yet !!!!

  4. I just ignore all that noise and shop on Christmas Eve, or if I am really ambitious, on Christmas Eve Squared, like I always have.

  5. All of the Christmas decorations went up here on November 1st. Bah Humbug. I’m with you, Joe, let me enjoy my favorite holiday.

  6. deep breath, dude ….. now let it out ….. have some more turkey …

  7. Well said Joe! My wife and I have boycotted what has become an annual ritual for some for many years now and will continue this year. I am thankful for your further inspiration!

  8. I am with you Joe and I hope your sentiments will be shared by many others, but I am not hopeful!

  9. I am with everyone else on this and wholeheartedly agree. My birthday is always in/around Thanksgiving, so I get a little personally insulted when it gets second shrifted by people rushing Christmas!! I do much of my shopping online as well, and between about Nov 28 and Dec 8 to keep it sane.

  10. I couldn’t agree more. I never have even gone shopping on Black Friday. Why would I want to get pushed around by bargain hunters just to feed the retailers.

  11. I don’t know what pizelles are…..but I want some! How do I find Aunt Mary?

  12. Joe, I agree. What little shopping I do is usually way before Thanksgiving, like July when I see something that I think someone will like. I don’t like going near the stores on Black Friday. I might do what my uncle did when I was a kid, give his money to mom on Christmas eve and she had to run to the store while the kids were in school. Gloria

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