The conversation has tended to revolve around the question of whether it’s good for Americans to leave their gatherings to go buy things on Thanksgiving. In a societal sense, no—honor the day best you can and shop tomorrow. But that’s not even the question. At least shoppers have a choice. They can decide whether or not they want to leave and go somewhere else. But the workers who are going to have to haul in to work the floor don’t have a choice. They’ve been scheduled. They’ve got jobs they want to keep.
It’s not right. The idea that Thanksgiving doesn’t demand special honor marks another erosion of tradition, of ceremony, of a national sense. And this country doesn’t really need more erosion in those areas, does it?
The rationale for the opening is that this year there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and since big retailers make a lot of their profits during that time something must be done. I suppose something should. But blowing up Thanksgiving isn’t it.
There has been a nice backlash on the Internet, with petitions and Facebook posts. Some great retailers have refused to be part of what this newspaper called Thanksgiving Madness. Nordstrom won’t open on Thanksgiving, nor will T.J. Maxx, Costco or Dillard’s. P.C. Richard & Son took out full-page ads protesting. The CEO was quoted last week saying Thanksgiving is “a truly American holiday” and “asking people to be running out to shop, we feel is disrespectful.” Ace Hardware said, simply: “Some things are more important than money.”
That is the sound of excellent Americans.