Keep Your Toaster
So this is what it has come down to. We wonder why there seems to be no morals any longer, no concern for another person, and a dwindling devotion to family, as we watch society in the great US plummet deeper into the “me, me, me, mine, mine, mine” manner of thinking. As a whole in this country we don’t have many days where our sole purpose is to reflect and appreciate the life we have. Thanksgiving is that day and we are watching it slip from our grasp further and further each year. It is a day where the only goal is to remind us of all we have that is good in our lives. A day where the things that truly matter are given the rightful priority in our thoughts. It isn’t about $10 toaster sales, widescreen T.V.s, or BOGO specials. It is about our loved ones, our health, food to eat, a place to rest our heads. Even a homeless person dining in a shelter that day will take a moment to be thankful for a warm meal and a warm place to eat it in. It is one of those rare moments in today’s busy society where we can spend a moment together and reflect on the good things we have in our lives. We don’t have to be churchgoers to do it, or even have any religious belief at all. It spans races and economic backgrounds. All that is required is the ability to be appreciative for what we do have instead of dwelling on what we don’t.
Those of us who have been around for a moment or two can likely remember when Black Friday was just that, Friday. Stores did not necessarily open early for it, but it was the busiest shopping day of the year. It was the day to kick off the Holiday Season. People did not pitch tents and stand outside stores in the wee hours of the morning. Thanksgiving was left alone, frequently with little mention of the shopping trip to come on the day following until long after the dishes had been dried and put away, if mentioned at all. Everyone loves a good sale, but we should love our families more. I still do. There will be no talk of Black Friday at my table until after the pie, and no talk at all of shopping on Thanksgiving day, or what some now have termed “Brown Thursday”.
It seems the corporate powers-that-be of many retail shops have decided that their bottom line is more important than our holiday; more important than our families and the brief time we get to enjoy a pure moment with them when it is not about the material things, but the things that have value beyond that of the retail dollar. They don’t have enough concern for their employees to give them this day off, nor do they have concern for their patrons to allow them to enjoy the day either. I, for one, say “no”. I cannot go to a store and buy a moment with my children, a heartfelt conversation with my close friends, a smile with my mother, sitting with my husband while we proudly watch the children we have raised. Those things don’t come in boxes or bags, and will never be found in aisle 6. There will still be plenty of “stuff” there on Friday when and if I finally venture out. If that $10 toaster is gone, sobeit. When I die I doubt highly at my funeral anyone will get up and reminisce about the wonderful toaster I gave them in 2014 anyway. They will, however, remember being together, the smell of the kitchen, the giggles and stories, and the love that was warming the room. We may even throw in a card game or a movie depending on how we feel that day.
We all want to be able to give everybody the gift they have been longing for, but the best gift to give is teaching our children that there are more important things to cherish, things that cannot be purchased. That is a gift that will go with them far longer than that toaster will function. They will make toasters for years to come, and when that one breaks they can buy another. Your family is not replaceable.
I doubt highly when those who choose to venture out Thursday for those sales will find anything on a sale rack more important than the actual person they are shopping for. I doubt they will find the CEOs of those business behind the registers on Thanksgiving day. They may find an employee or two enjoying the extra money, but for every one of those they will likely find a handful of workers who would have rather stayed home. The decision to open was inevitably the heads of these businesses, and I will never be swayed to believe it was done for any reason other than to make a buck. However, the decision to go there, and shop that day still belongs to the consumer. This consumer is putting her foot down and saying “enough is enough” and I am keeping my holiday, you can keep your toaster. When I die, my kids can cherish the memories, someones else’s kids will have to fight over who gets the toaster.
Debbie Smith Alton