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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Jeff Fox: Give the shopping a rest on Thanksgiving

  • No one needs to shop on Thanksgiving. There, I said it. I fear Thanksgiving will somehow get swallowed up and become as much of an afterthought as Arbor Day. Maybe that’s far-fetched, but it’s hard to deny that’s where the trend leads.

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  • No one needs to shop on Thanksgiving.
    There, I said it. No one needs to shop on Thanksgiving.
    One store should be open on Thanksgiving, and that’s convenience store, for those who get through the first 672 steps of making dinner for 22 and then realize they are out of Cool Whip for the pecan pie. That is not shopping. That is emergency management. We’ve all been there.
    So convenience gets a pass –– but no one else.
    Black Friday is bad enough, scampering out of the house in the dead of night to stand and shiver in a pre-dawn line for the bargain of the year, limit one.
    But now, as it’s widely reported, one major chain is opening at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving itself, and another has upped the ante by opening at 9. Lest we forget, others will be open all day.
    Enough. We have gone too far in debasing the so-called holiday season by turning it into a commercial Mardi Gras, raising the very real risk of blotting out the meaning of Christmas. Instead, Thanksgiving and Christmas become the opening and closing of a veritable hunting season.
    Can we just pause for one moment for some consideration of Thanksgiving? Various countries have their own versions, but I am partial to the American tradition: a big bird, potatoes and gravy, conversation, maybe a game of cards after dinner and before the third round of dessert.
    And a moment of thankfulness for God and country, for another year of work and reward, for family and friends, for health, for freedom. I would submit that such contemplation requires the rarest of things these days: an unhurried moment. Can’t the headlong rush to buy, buy, buy be put on hold for one day?
    Don’t get me wrong. There are blue laws in some states, arbitrarily closing some stores on Sundays but not others. It’s silly and unworkable, and it inappropriately codifies the preference of one religious group –– mine, as it turns out –– but ignores the teachings of others. Let’s not go there.
    But many of us can still remember a day when more retailers than not were closed on Sundays and virtually nothing –– not even McDonald’s –– was open on Thanksgiving or Christmas. It was just expected and understood. And, yet, we managed to survive, sometimes without Cool Whip.
    How many families’ Thanksgiving Day plans are disrupted because Aunt Tillie has to leave early for the big sale? How many more families are affected because cousin Johnny has to leave for work even earlier so the House of Bargains is ready for the onslaught?
    I realize I might as well order the tide not to come in. Some retailers have had Christmas items on the shelves for weeks. They cheat into the calendar a little more every year, and a dicey economy tempts them to double down on that particular bet. If they didn’t need all that space for Halloween candy and Justin Beiber masks, they would go straight from Labor Day to jingle bells.
    Page 2 of 2 - I fear Thanksgiving will somehow get swallowed up and become as much of an afterthought as Arbor Day. Maybe that’s far-fetched, but it’s hard to deny that’s where the trend leads.
    Some of us do protest, and maybe it does some good. Maybe a retailer here or there weighs the stampede of one set of customers against the offended sensibilities of another. Maybe it matters, so let them know.
    Let them know that no one needs to shop on Thanksgiving. All of us, however, could use a day of quiet reflection and profound gratitude.
    Jeff Fox - jeff.fox@examiner.net

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