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Photography, notes, commentary and much more from former Reporter Online Editor Chris Stanley.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't touch my Thanksgiving

Being in the newspaper business for the past 23 years or so, I have been no stranger to working on Thanksgiving. This has generally taken the form of photographing some high school football game or another, running back to the office to process my photos (old school) or upload them into a computer (new century). It was work, but at least I was among people enjoying their holiday, and I was usually done and feast-ready by early afternoon.

Black Friday is another 'regular' assignment for most local news photographers. Go to the mall, go to the 'big-box' retailer, see the mad rush of humanity chasing down that elusive bargain on a new Furby, flat-screen TV, something-something Elmo, whatever.

Not my scene. But if it's good for the economy and makes people happy, let them go at it.

Unfortunately, this mad dash of capitalism doesn't seem to be enough for some retailers. A few years ago, a certain 'blue light' retailer started opening their stores on Christmas day, just in case you'd rather spend your holiday among shrink-wrapped stuff from China instead of a warm fireplace with your family. As time passed, a handful of other retailers joined in this new holiday tradition.

But at least Thanksgiving was safe. This most-American of holidays was still reserved for parades, football games, and of course over-eating on a grand scale. For those into competitive shopping, Thanksgiving was like the pep rally before the big game. For the rest of us, it is a chance to get together and argue politics, sports and various other uncomfortable topics with family members while stuffing our faces.

Now comes word that some retailers, most notably including one that once owned a tall building in Chicago, are now swinging their doors wide open on Turkey Day for 'pre-Black Friday' shopping. Throw the turkey in the oven, get in the car, and SHOP! Run home, eat the turkey, but don't stay long because you don't want to lose your place in line for the flat TV special that starts at 2 am Friday morning.

Now if football and family doesn't move you, and you are tempted to spend your holiday cruising the fluorescent-lit aisles of your local Stuff-Mart instead, just remember that somebody, in fact, many people have to work to keep those stores open. Maybe they get overtime pay, maybe they don't, but Thanksgiving is basically just another working day pretty much like the other 364 for them. And once they close the store, IF they close the store, they have to get ready for the 4 am rush for something cheap from China on Friday.

Stay home, relax, have some more creamed Brussels sprouts.

There is a time and a place for everything, including shopping.

Just don't mess with my Thanksgiving.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, and amen, Chris. Couldn't have said it better.

(Stuff-Mart...Was that an unintentional Veggie Tales reference? For parents who want their kids to get the message that life is much more than the sum of our "stuff," see the Veggie Tales video "Madame Blueberry" (I think that's the name.)

November 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM 
Blogger Blog editors said...

Yes, yes it was a VT reference. Their parody of Costco, or Sam's Club, or whatever mega-retailer was spot-on.

November 30, 2010 at 11:28 PM 

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