Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
In my first career, I worked in retail management. There were two days of the year that inspired dread: the Friday after Thanksgiving (it was not yet dubbed "Black Friday" by the media at the time) when people bought a bunch of crap that nobody needs, and the day after Christmas when people returned all that crap that nobody needs or wanted. In a word, it is "insanity."
Christmas was once banned in in the colonies and later the United States. The Surprising Truth: Christians Once Banned Christmas:
It may seem like Christmas has always been celebrated in the United
States, but that's not the case. In fact, the joyous religious holiday
was actually banned in America for several decades – by Christians
It may seem like Christmas has always been celebrated in the United States, but that's not the case. In fact, the joyous religious holiday was actually banned in America for several decades – by Christians themselves.
The original war on Christmas was waged during the sixteenth and seventeenth century by Puritans, or Protestant Christians who believed that people needed strict rules to be religious and that any kind of merrymaking was sinful.
"Shocking as it sounds, followers of Jesus Christ in both America and England helped pass laws making it illegal to observe Christmas, believing it was an insult to God to honor a day associated with ancient paganism," according to "Shocked by the Bible" (Thomas Nelson Inc, 2008). "Most Americans today are unaware that Christmas was banned in Boston from 1659 to 1681."
All Christmas activities, including dancing, seasonal plays, games, singing carols, cheerful celebration – and especially drinking – were banned by the Puritan-dominated Parliament of England in 1644, with the Puritans of New England following suit. Christmas was outlawed in Boston, and the Plymouth colony made celebrating Christmas a criminal offense, according to "Once Upon a Gospel" (Twenty-Third Publications, 2008).
Christmas trees and decorations were considered to be unholy pagan rituals, and the Puritans also banned traditional Christmas foods such as mince pies and pudding. Puritan laws required that stores and businesses remain open all day on Christmas, and town criers walked through the streets on Christmas Eve calling out "No Christmas, no Christmas!"
On Dec. 25, 1789, the first Christmas under the brand-new Constitution, the United States Congress was in session, with no day off for any holiday. In fact, the U.S. did not even make Christmas a federal holiday until 1870.
It was the rise of the industrial era and a new commercialism that turned the once-banned Christmas holiday into the commercial holiday and economic engine that it is today.
It is far worse today than when I was working in retail management. We now have "early bird" or "door buster" sales limited to early morning hours that encourage shoppers to camp out, sometimes for days in advance, to be the first in line at Midnight, or 2:00 a.m., or 5:00 a.m. This encourages a "herd" mentality when the doors are opened and leads to a stampede, endangering store employees and customers alike. And yes, people have been trampled to death in these stampedes over the years. Those who participate in this animalistic ritual should be ashamed. My personal view is that this retail practice should be prohibited by law.
At least when I was working in retail management, we had Thanksgiving Day off to spend with our families. But even this concession began to erode a number of years ago when retailers like Walgreens and K-Mart were open on Thanksgiving Day. Now other major retailers are joining suit, eliminating the quintessential American national holiday — Thanksgiving Day — as a sacred holiday to be celebrated. Some of the nation’s largest retailers will be
open on Thanksgiving Day while kicking off the holiday shopping season
sooner than ever. Thursday is new Black Friday:
Walmart and Sears plan to open at 8 p.m. Thursday, while Target will
open at 9 p.m. That’s two hours earlier than last year for Walmart and
three hours earlier for Target. Sears was closed last Thanksgiving.
As retailers attempt to capitalize on the holiday, the move has
generated mixed emotions among shoppers and the employees who will work
to serve them.
* * *
The expanded hours come as stores fight for every scrap of revenue in a still-sluggish economy.
“The last two years have been the first time we’ve seen a meaningful
amount of retailers open on Thanksgiving,” said R.J. Hottovy, senior
retail analyst at investment-researcher Morningstar Inc. in Chicago. “In
the past, Thanksgiving really was sacred.”
The push to Thanksgiving store openings has been led by mass
merchants, Hottovy said, adding that the higher-end department stores
“are resisting a bit.”
In fact, Walmart employees are resisting taking away their Thanksgiving Day with their families.
Sporadic recent strikes and protests by store and warehouse workers
against Walmart started in October over various employee-relations
grievances. The latest complaints, over Thanksgiving hours, threaten to
disrupt holiday-season shopping at the nation’s largest retailer.
Federal labor officials said Monday that they will decide quickly
whether to support a request by Walmart Stores Inc. to stop a
union-backed group from encouraging worker walkouts at hundreds of
stores on Friday.
More than 350,000 people have signed an online petition at advocacy site Change.org asking Target to “give Thanksgiving back to families” by not opening on Thanksgiving.
“This is one of the largest petitions we’ve ever seen on Change.org,” said Charlotte Hill, a spokeswoman for the website.
Similar petitions were launched citing Kmart, Sears, Macy’s and other retailers.
The Target effort was started by Casey St. Clair, an employee in
Corona, Calif., who said she likes her job with the company but was left
“absolutely exhausted” after working last year, when her store opened
The early Black Friday hours also made it impossible for St. Clair to spend Thanksgiving with her family back East.
I will have more about this in a later post.