The United States of America is a country of consumerism. We aren’t producers. We are consumers. America sits at the top of the list of top consuming countries at 28% of the market. It’s no surprise. We’ve managed to put nearly 20% of our society in poverty by closing factories and shipping jobs overseas for cheap labor in the name of greed. Philadelphia has 430,000 people out of work due to this method. A state of so called brotherly love.
When I found out that KMart is going to open their doors at 6AM on Thanksgiving morning was no shocker. I was actually anticipating this. It was just a matter of time and the question of which retail chain would take the plunge and cancel Thanksgiving for their workers altogether. KMart is not alone. Walmart will also join them and Macy’s will break a longstanding 155 year tradition this year by opening their doors at 8PM. Best Buy will open their doors at 6 PM and Toys R Us will open at 5 PM. Despite 30,000 Walmart employees petitioning for no work on Turkey Day, 1 million others have stated that they are really excited to work on Thanksgiving. Absurd.
We can’t put all the blame on the corporations or the people who want to work Thanksgiving, though. That’s a little one-sided and unfair. The American culture is to spend, spend, spent. Buy, buy, buy. It’s how we’ve kept our economy going for so long. Go to work, get your paycheck and go spend it on stuff. Anything. The corporations are eager to take the money you’re so willing to part with.
My concern is that consumerism in America has been a run-away train for too long and I’m afraid it’s gotten to the point where it’s unstoppable. Where does it end? This year we have more retailers opening on Thanksgiving than ever before. There is no family time on our beloved Turkey day. It’s all about the best deal on a flat screen or a Playstation game console. We’ve put materialistic bullshit before our own children, relatives, friends and family members. Sure, employees get paid time and a half to come in and work a 10 hour shift but when will that end? When will working Thanksgiving become just another normal day where everyone is expected to work? When will the benefits of having to work Thanksgiving go away? And when will our insatiable hunger to consume start affecting other holidays like Christmas? Only time will tell.
I have to work Thanksgiving and although I’m not excited about it, I suppose it’s the culture I live in and maybe I should quit complaining about it and just accept how things are now. I don’t buy a lot of things and I do my best to save my money and stretch my dollar as far as I can. Call me cheap, call me frugal, call me whatever. I call it smart and thrifty.
Shop on Thanksgiving if you want to. Buy buyer beware. A lot of companies like Sears, Walmart and KMart manufacture cheap electronics and other crap specifically for this day. It’s not made to last or be efficient. It’s simply made to turn a profit.