Every year, and throughout the year, we see special sales for Labor Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Halloween, and of course Christmas sales which now begin in November.
The only day people felt had not been taken by consumerism was Thanksgiving. A special day that most other countries do not have. A day on which people usually rushed to be home with their extended families celebrating , eating, laughing and sometimes quarreling, which happens when a lot of people get together. But none the less it was known to be a day for family, and whoever did not have a family was always welcomed into one of the big gatherings as part of the family.
It was a day that most foreigners envied and wished they had one back in their countries. But things have changed. Big businesses have managed to turn Thanksgiving Day into another day of rushing and spending.
Some people have reacted to the early opening of the stores, but a good number of them took the opportunity to buy STUFF. There is a movement called The Story of Stuff, and people worldwide are joining to work for a more healthy and just planet. Do we even realize how many things we get that we don’t actually need? Something is very wrong when we use our lives to enrich corporations in detriment to our time and lives.
According to Colorlines, there are about 16 million retail workers in the U.S., and most of them were asked to work on Thanksgiving Day. K-Mart, Sears, Best Buy, Walmart, Kohls, Target, Toys R Us, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Staples and Old Navy were among the ones who ordered workers to be at work on Thursday.
Few people stood up against the order. An example was Tony Rohr, general manager at Pizza Hut in Elkhart, Indiana, who asked the company to let the employees have the holiday with their families. At his refusal to comply with the order, he was fired. He paid the price of saying no to a big corporation.
Rohr raised his voice to protest a matter that is changing the values associated to a day dedicated to gratitude, and enjoyment of each other’s company. The retail workers, most of whom are of very low income, deserve the chance to spend time with their families.
It is up to the consumers, to tell businesses when to stop, and not let them invade every second of our lives. Are the stores supposed to serve the clients, or do they get to dictate when and how we are to spend our money. If people don’t go, they will get the message. How many times have we let them decide for us? Is this the land of freedom, or the land of consumers who can be led anywhere. Freedom implies choices, and not impositions, not only for the consumers, but also for the workers.
Now as the Christmas season starts, can we think on what to give, that does not necessarily imply buying more stuff? Maybe the people who really need things are those affected by the multitude of catastrophes worldwide in places like Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and many places in the U.S.
For those who have lost everything, a bed, a book, a chair, clothing, food, and things that may bring laughter and joy would be important. Do you have enough, so that you can pass on the blessing to others in need?
Thanksgiving is for acknowledging how much one has, and how others may need,. Gratefulness is not for hoarding, but sharing, as others once shared the table.
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