It’s the week of Thanksgiving and that means two things: Turkeys everywhere have abandoned the Earth’s surface for the foreseeable future and barricaded themselves into their subterranean bunkers to wait out their yearly species-wide end of days. We should see them back out on the streets come the new year.
And two: Americans everywhere are pouring through news reports about Black Friday, working themselves into a sanctimonious lather, not about the deals or lack there off, but about the hours.
Surpassing drunken arguments with the family, Lions football, and even mind-blowing amounts of gluttony, America’s new favorite Thanksgiving tradition is complaining about what time the stores open on Black Friday, or Terrible Thursday as it’s become.
Black Friday used to be about waking up at 2 a.m. and journeying out into the darkness, belly full of stuffing and turkey meat, to wait in line at big box stores to fight tooth-and-nail to save a few sheckles on a big screen TV.
Now, it’s about the same, only instead of waking up before your neighborhood rooster, people don’t go to sleep. Black Friday has encroached on Thanksgiving, to the point where K-Mart opening at 6 a.m. on Turkey Day and staying open for either 41 straight hours or until employees revolt and burn the place to the ground in a bleary-eyed rage.
Whichever comes first.
And so it goes. Capitalism. Uncle Sam’s wet dream. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Except every year anymore people get all cheesed off about it. Petitions get signed, people go on TV and the internet, complaining to anyone or anything who’ll listen about closing retail stores down and protecting the virtues of pigging out together and then kicking some Native Americans in the shins like the Pilgrims did. AS A FAMILY!
I don’t get that.
I mean, hell, it’d be great and all if stores closed on Thanksgiving and their employees could be with their families.
But that’s not reality.
The reality is, this blissful time when the world shut down for a little quality family time is a complete fantasy. At least since I’ve been putzing around on the planet.
The reason I know this is because I spent a year and a half working for a movie theater. You know how many days movie theaters are closed during the year?
It’s about the same number as your average hospital.
In fact, an easy way to tell if your local movie theater is open is to ask yourself: “Was the world destroyed by a meteor today?”
If the answer is no, then your local theater is probably open.
During my time at the theater, I worked on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, my birthday, Arbor Day, all the major and most cherished national holidays. Why? Because the movie theater is busiest when the rest of the world isn’t.
And yeah, it sucked, but whatever. My family and I worked around it. Even when I had a swing shift right smack in the middle of Christmas Day, we still found a way to do presents and dinner and such.
The thing is, no one gives a shit about movie theater workers. No one signs petitions or goes to Fox News and CNN to complain on their behalf. We just care about the poor, trekked upon souls at Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy.
I’m not sure why they deserve the day off but the movie crowd can go suck an egg.
What about all of those football players who have to work on Thanksgiving in cities far away from their families? Ah, but who cares about them? They make millions. What about the parking attendants selling you $30 passes for the stadium lot or the lady pouring your $15 beers at the concession stand? Shouldn’t they get the day off?
Oh yeah, and all of those soldiers, cops, firefighters, doctors, nurses, waiters and gas station attendants who also have to spend the day manning their stations.
Should these people all be home with their families? Yeah, it would be lovely, but that’s not the direction the world is going in.
How outraged are these people who sign these petitions anyway? If everyone was as outraged as they pretended to be, I don’t think the stores would be as full as they are, and thusly the suits that run them wouldn’t be opening them earlier and earlier every year.
I guess the point of my argument is this: Shut it all down. The movie theaters, the football games, the restaurants, everything. Shut it all down or shut up. Working on Thanksgiving is not new, it’s not news, it’s a thing that happens every year and will continue to happen every year until the Internet becomes self-aware and Blockbuster’s the crap out of the retail world.
Until that point, save the outrage for something that really deserves it. Some truly evil and shameful black-eye on our society that is actually doing real damage to innocent lives everywhere.
Like the “It’s a Wonderful Life” sequel.