Friday, November 25, 2011

My week, Thanksgiving, and black friday

My week started out on Monday with hubby and I going out to do my grocery shopping for this week.  He drove, and I took my list of what we needed in general for our planned Thanksgiving feast for the two of us.  Now before you think less of my hubby because he just drove - he is on disability, has bad knees and is supposed to stay off his feet a lot, and is recovering from cancer treatments; so during the cold and flu season, we are keeping him away from people as much as possible while his immune system rebounds from the treatments.

I went to Walmart and got the stuff I needed there, and found the grocery side of the store to be filled with people doing much the same thing as I was.  But the people were nice, and seemed in a holiday spirit.  Then we went home and dropped off the cold stuff I had gotten at Walmart.  Then we went to our local IGA grocery store to get the rest of the things I needed.  Then we went home.  On Tuesday we ventured over to our local Dollar General Store to pick up 2 or 3 other things we needed.  They have cokes .28 cents cheaper than Walmart.  Then we were home with our shopping done for the week.

Now over the past 10 years or so, we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving too heartily.  Most of the time over the past 10 years, I have done little to no cooking for the Thanksgiving holiday.  So you may wonder why?  And why the difference this year?

It all goes back to fall of about 10 years ago, when my husband got a job working on the floor maintenance crew at our local Walmart.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  In retrospect, we both sort of wish that he had never taken the job.  Because the job has ruined his knees and ruined our holidays for the past 10 years.  There wasn't hardly a holiday that he didn't have to work, especially Thanksgiving night - to be there to help get the store ready for the black friday shoppers.  So over the past few years we haven't bothered much with Thanksgiving.  Maybe a frozen turkey dinner and a pumpkin pie was our Thanksgiving celebration; because he usually worked the night  before - Wednesday, and would work Thursday night, and usually went in Friday night too.  And usually he would have to go in earlier than regular on Thursday, to make sure he got his work done before the shoppers converged on the store.  And with Walmart starting their sales at 10 pm on Thursday this year, I can't even begin to imagine what time the poor workers had to be there to get ready for the shoppers this year.

But this year, 2011, we had a great Thanksgiving!  You see, back in 2010, my husband had to start working part-time because his bad knees would no longer allow him to work full-time.  And he didn't have hardly any knee trouble at all before he went to work at Walmart.  Plus, I have a bad back, and have not been able to work for years.  We managed on his part-time salary, hoping he could hold out until he reached retirement age.  Then in the beginning of 2011, one of the night-time Walmart managers (who had always shown a distinct dislike for my husband anyway) trumped up enough gripes to get him fired.  He applied for unemployment, and had just started to draw it when he went into the hospital for a knot on his neck.  We thought it was related to a badly abscessed tooth that he had been unable to take care of, but it turned out to be cancer.  So he launched into the surgery and treatments to take care of his cancer, and disability was applied for.

Yes, we have had a heck of a year.  He didn't have any insurance, and money has been very tight all year, and he has been running back and forth to doctors.  But we still had a lot to be thankful for this year.  The two big things for me:  the doctors have now declared him cancer free and cured, and he won't be going into work at Walmart on Thanksgiving night ever again.  So we celebrated this year, and I cooked.  I fixed a beef roast with carrots and potatoes in my stockpot on the stove, made his favorite layered lettuce salad, made a bean and tomato casserole I had come up with the idea for, and got a couple of Marie Callendar pies:  coconut creme and pumpkin.  I enjoyed this Thanksgiving more than any other.

But I feel so sorry for all the employees' holiday that was ruined by what has become the greatest example of greed that our modern world has.

Thanksgiving is a holiday when we are supposed to reflect on the blessings that we have, and be thankful for them.  It is supposed to be a holiday spent enjoying good food with family and friends and loved ones.  It is supposed to be a holiday when you think about those less fortunate than yourself, and help them if you can.  It is supposed to be a holiday when we reach out to those spending the holiday alone, and try to make them feel less alone.

But in today's world of ever increasing corporate greed, ways to increase the money raked in from the Christmas shopping season are destroying Thanksgiving.

Used to be, when black friday started, it truly started on Friday; not Thursday.  But still it encroached on the Thanksgiving celebration of the employees who worked at these stores.

Used to be, yes, Christmas shopping started the day after Thanksgiving.  But it used to be a joyous thing associated with red and green and Santa and elves and Christmas trees and wrapping paper and the Baby Jesus lying in a manger.  It gave one a warm fuzzy Christmas feeling that built all the way up to Christmas Eve and Day itself.

I am 50, and I still remember the days before . . .

But black friday - there isn't one thing warm or fuzzy or loving about that.  Does anyone out there remember, not too long back, the stories of people getting trampled underfoot by other shoppers in a mad frenzy to get the best deals!??!  Why just today I read a story of this horrendous behavior continuing:

Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers

She pepper sprayed the other shoppers as a pallet of electronics was unwrapped in an effort to gain an upper hand over the other shoppers.  20 people suffered minor injuries, and the woman got away; but the store remained open and people continued to shop.

And this story is just the tip of the black friday iceberg when it comes to stories of black friday injuries and horror stories, to say nothing of simply poor behavior:

13 Most Brutal Black Friday Injuries/Deaths

What about this story from 2008?

Wal-Mart worker dies in Black Friday stampede

Nothing can bring that person back to their family.  And they were just a Walmart employee doing their job because they needed the money.

So is this story putting a crimp in your black friday shopping mood?  I sincerely hope so!

Throughout history, black friday has referred to any Friday on which a disaster or calamity has occurred.  And now the greedy corporate retailers want to take over Thanksgiving, and erase it, and shroud it all in a black cloak of greed and avarice and shopping.  And they will succeed if we the people let them.

So what do you say - you people out there?  Will you let them?  Or will you fight to save Thanksgiving, and all the best part of the human spirit that it represents?

I will always fight to encourage, uphold, and save that which represents the best of the human spirit.  And I will always fight against the darkness which would destroy the light.

Do you think I am overstating it?  Perhaps a little out there?  Or perhaps you are somewhat less than the best of what you could be.  Think about it.

And for you who agree with me, fight against the darkness that would destroy the light - wherever you may find the battle happening.  Whether it be on a war front, or in a store on Thanksgiving.


Want to read more?  Some links for you:


Note from me -- 

I posted a link for this post on the Walmart facebook page, and they deleted it.  I also made a comment to one of their posts about a food item they were pushing, that people should check out recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers on my food and cooking page; and they deleted that too.  

Apparently they only want comments that kiss their corporate behind.  And they obviously prefer that you throw your leftovers away and come buy new food.  

Thought about sending corporate an email saying that, but then decided not to.  You see, we live in a small town; and Walmart is it.  No Target or K-Mart.  Only other shopping is a 30 minute drive away, and we are just not in shape to drive 30 minutes to do weekly shopping.  I was on their corporate comment page, and then closed the page without sending my comments.  I became afraid that if I griped too loudly, that they might ban me from shopping at my local store.

America is no longer a free nation.  It is a nation in bondage.  Sad.
-- jd --

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