Admittedly, I am a guy who generally dreads the thought of plodding through a shopping mall on any day of the year, but to me the encroachment of Black Friday into Thanksgiving evening seems not only insane but also disturbingly unpatriotic.
It was bad enough when it became the norm for people to show up in the middle of the night in order to be near the front of the line when store doors swung open early on the morn after Thanksgiving. Every time I heard about the herd of shoppers being culled as someone got trampled or sent to the hospital after a fight over a Tickle Me Elmo, I felt justified in my smugness and disdain of this retail frenzy. If that is how the rabble wanted to spend their time and money, so be it. The manic rush to save a hundred bucks on a 50-inch flat-screen TV or finish Christmas shopping by 9 a.m. on Black Friday could go on without me.
Over the years, though, retailers have pushed the starting time for this mad dash earlier and earlier until now it is bumping up against the slicing of the pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving dinner table. This does not seem right.
I pity the poor retail workers who have to leave home and hearth and turkey dinner on the most venerable national holiday of the year. Instead of giving thanks for the opportunity to be confronted by a greedy horde of bargain hunters, I suspect most of those workers are cursing the store owners who decided to ruin the day with their own lust for a dollar. I think it is safe to assume the guys who own Target or Best Buy or the other big retailers will not be manning the cash registers. No, they will be sharing a leisurely Thanksgiving repast with their heirs in the peace and safety of their gated communities.
In 2013, it will be exactly 150 years since Abraham Lincoln set aside the fourth Thursday in November as a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." Obviously, traditions shift over time, but let us hope that by next year those who put making money and spending money above all other values will not have totally desecrated what was once an all-American day like no other.