by Ranim Elborai
Across the Atlantic Ocean, and just north and south of the borders of the United States, today is a day like any other. It’s Thursday, so at best most of us are looking forward to our weekend.
Not so my American friends — today, they shall look forward to a meal so abundant in variety, so rich in calories and so laden with fats and carbs, its immediate aftermath requires the diner to unbutton his pantaloons and lay himself upon the settee for several hours, heaving and moaning, regretting that last extra scoop of mashed potatoes.
Scratch that — not all Americans will be doing that, because not all Americans have families to spend the day with, or even homes to go to.
Those that do have homes and families may find themselves stuck at work on America’s most family-oriented holiday.
I’m not talking about hospital staff and emergency services providers like fire fighters and the police force — those are necessary staffing decisions, because emergencies have a tendency to blatantly disregard holidays, working hours, and weekends.
I’m talking about non-emergency situations. A manager of a Pizza Hut in Indiana was fired for refusing to make his employees work on Thanksgiving.
The mind boggles. Who the fuck wants to have Pizza Hut on Thanksgiving?
Even if you can barely fry yourself an egg, the prospect of eating out at a place like that on a family holiday is the most depressing thing I can imagine. I can’t be the only one who thinks that it would be so much better to have a microwave dinner at home with your TV for company, can I?
If you really, really must have pizza on Thanksgiving, why not buy a frozen pizza at a supermarket and have that? A little advance planning around the holidays is not so much to ask. A little consideration of how other people may want to have some time with their families a few special days a year can’t really be that hard to muster.
Many Americans retail workers won’t be having a good Thanksgiving either, thanks to Black Friday creeping up on Thanksgiving night.
In case you’ve never had the (dis)pleasure of shopping on “Black Friday” and have no idea what such a morbid name connotes, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and kicks off the holiday shopping season. It’s always marked by a massive sale and retailers open shop as early as midnight, welcoming in rabid shoppers intent on securing a bargain.
Well now it seems that some of the aforementioned gluttons have the wherewithal to do up their flies once more and spring off of their couches to do a bit of shopping immediately after their meal — as early as 6PM–forcing retail workers to skip the family holiday entirely.
What the fuck people? Why can’t you wait till the next day? What is so incredibly important about buying a vacuum cleaner that you can’t wait to digest your meal a little bit? What is so vital about getting your hands on the PS4 that it can’t wait till the next morning?
Most are blaming mega-retailers like Walmart, Sears, Kmart, Office Depot and Best Buy for the Black Friday Creep. Yes, those corporations absolutely suck in the worst way possible for doing this to their employees.
But we, as consumers, also suck.
We possibly suck more because we are so caught up in material concerns that we’re ready to pile into our cars as soon as we eat our turkey, clamouring eagerly outside shop doors for a sale, without giving a thought to the employees who’ve missed the holiday entirely just so we can buy some overpriced sneakers (and yes, even if they are 30%-50% off, they are still overpriced) and hideous faux-fur coats. It’s only because we’re all so happy to do this that the “Black Friday Creep” started to begin with.
So if you’re reading this while you’re in the US, for god’s sake woman, or man, keep it together and wait till Friday morning. People who work in retails have families too.
Do I sound self-righteous? I know I do.
Don’t get me wrong — I am all about shopping during sale season. It’s the only sensible time to buy a designer anything. And, because I’ll be in London during Christmas, I personally plan on waking up very early on Boxing Day and heading straight to the shops to reap the benefits of having spent a miserable Christmas Day with only my sister for company. (JUST KIDDING! It won’t be miserable — it’ll be lovely — we’ll have a big breakfast and watch lots of television and have a few friends over for a nice early dinner or something. But it would be nice if the whole family were all together.)
But, and this is a big, big “but,” I’m going to wait until normal shopping hours to take advantage of any price cuts–like a civilised, considerate individual.
And don’t forget all the other people for whom Thanksgiving may not be so awesome: Native Americans, turkeys.