Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day - Now Stay Home

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday. The family plan used to be eat too much, watch some football, argue about playing monopoly and then go to a movie followed by a well deserved nap.

Now, there are family rumblings about hitting some stores and get Black Friday going a day early.

I humbly say, stay home.

Every year the holidays creep closer and closer together. I predict by 2015, store Christmas decorations will be up right after July 4th.

Retail stores are opening earlier and earlier for the holiday rush, 24 hour shifts, 3 am sales and it is painful to watch. Online petitions have been floating around demanding that the stores go back to the way it used to be - that the only people that worked on Thanksgiving were gas stations, grocery stores and movie theaters. The problem is, people are showing up at the stores, cashing in their vacation days to camp out at Best Buy for the chance of grabbing one of the two sale tvs in the store.

If you have never worked in retail, you may not understand how challenging the holidays are. Not only are the employees missing out on rare time with their families but, I'm sorry to say, they are dealing with you.

Here is a true example for you. As a high school kid I worked at Marc's. Against my mom's protests, I had to work Christmas eve. That day, my faith in all humanity was shredded and littered through out Middleburg Heights.

That Christmas eve, we had the usuals come in. It was always sad to me, even as an obnoxious teenager, to see some of the older folks come in, lonely and looking for someone to talk to, buying a roll of aluminum foil or box of sandwich bags.

Anyway, that day was jam packed. I particularly remember one one screaming like a banshee at me because she was buying a carton of Marlboro Lights for a present and she wanted a carton without the price on it (it was standard at Marc's back then to have someone sharpie the price on the carton so when it got to the register we knew the price). Then something awful happened. There was a gas leak in the store and we had to evacuate. We were told to immediately leave and get out. Customers were furious. We had to run up and down the aisles chasing people out because they wanted to keep shopping.

One woman chucked a bottle of perfume at me because I wouldn't ring her order up and I was trying to escape.

We weren't allowed to go home and had to gather in the parking lot and wait. And wait. And wait. When we were permitted to go back in the store we had to put all the random carts away, with gas fumes still filtering in the building. Employees felt sick and some begged to go home.


It is the holiday. We all had to work overtime and there were some customers that waited in the parking lot that entire time. When they came back in the store, there was more yelling because they couldn't find their carts.

I tell this story because this was many years ago, before the giant sales, before Black Friday turned into gray Wednesday. During the holiday season, people get ridiculous and forget their manners. They treat employees like servants (I once had a guy at the Gap tear down an entire display of fleece hoodies and toss them in the air like rainbow colored snow flakes because we didn't have a size).

So, on this Turkey Day, I suggest stay home. Enjoy the time with your family. If you don't like your family, spend time with friends.

If you have to go out, remember to be kind. While you are sucking down that bloody mary before your shopping adventure, think about that bartender or server that can't be with their friends and family. Leave a little extra tip, and I mean cash money, not a random factoid.

Smile at the workers in Target or whatever store you are in. In the immortal words of Mr. Patrick Swayze, "Be nice." Don't lose your cool if there are no more $4 toasters.

We should be thankful today for all that we have, that and eat our weight in pumpkin pie.

Have a great day everyone.

Take a nap like my cat, Bernie.


  1. I never go out shopping on Black Friday - too many crazy fools out there! There is no deal alive worth it to me. For me, holidays are about spending time with my family and friends, not spending too much money on a bunch of crap.