Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Whatever Happened To Holidays?

The older I get, the more wistful for the way things used to be I tend to be and cringe less at the ominous words 'when I was young. . .' Take holidays, for instance.

Back when I was young(er), one had to make sure that the gas tank was full and a check cashed at the bank for the trip to the grandparents' to celebrate the event. Obviously, this was long before ATMs became avilable and when there weren't a lot of places, including gas stations, that would be open for a holiday.

My world seemed different on holidays. Many stores and businesses were closed. There were some places that had to be open, such as police and fire stations, hospitals, radio and television stations. Everyone else was visiting with family. That was the whole idea of the holiday.

As time passed, holidays began to change their focus. Somehow, they became reasons for having merchandise sales. Columbus Day, President's Day, Labor and Memorial Day sales started to pop up. You always knew the day after Christmas meant the after Christmas sales, and the day after Thanksgiving was often the start of the holiday and the holiday shopping season.

Then came the all important 'Black Friday' sales. So named, because the retail community considered this one day their make or break day of the entire year. They offered inticements to get people to come out early, opening their doors earlier than usual to meet the needs of the buying public. Usually 7AM was considered earlybird.

Well, these days, the earlybird is gettin' a little TOO early, IMO. I'm not against people gettin' out at oh dark thirty to buy stuff, if that's what they wanna do. I'm also not against the retailers havin' a good sellin' day. Every year, though, it seems that the all important 'Black Friday' sales start earlier and earlier, and now encroach into the Thanksgiving holiday itself.

This year, for example, several major retailers opened their doors at 9AM Thanksgivin' day, and remained open until their normal closin' time. Now, maybe their employees didn't believe in the holiday, or didn't have family to go visit and didn't want to be bothered with cooking for themselves. Yet, 9AM on the holiday itself meant that they had no chance to enjoy what the day is supposed to mean.

Other stores opened at the stroke of midnight Friday, and the shoppers were there to get big ticket items at low prices (often missin' the fine print that limited the number of those items the store would have available). With the long lines of people waitin' to get in came the usual reports around the nation of discourteous activity, including shootings and people getting pepper sprayed.

Frankly, I find the whole 'Black Friday' sales fever rediculous. Course, it's been well documented that while I love mankind, people are a pain in the posterior to me. I don't do crowds well, and avoid Black Friday like the Black Plague. That's my choice.

I think about the number of holidays my husband has had to work in retail, and wonder if maybe too much emphasis hasn't been put on the almighty dollar, instead of just sittin' back and enjoyin' a day of reflection and family. A day of rest.

Yes, I worked my share of holidays while in radio. Sure, one got paid for workin' the holiday. But one also knew that one was providin' a necessary service - entertainment and information in radio (community safety for police/fire) - by workin' that day. Is retail sales really a necessary service?

I guess a part of me still longs for the time when the family would pile into the car after visitin' with the maternal and/or paternal grandparents and cousins, replete with food and good times, and head back home. The sky would be painted with dusky colors as the sun set, the radio would be playin', and all seemed right with the world.

Le sigh.


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