It used to be that Black Friday was the height of American consumerism - rabid shoppers rising at the break of day to engage in bargain hunting on a grand and aggressive scale, bent on scoring huge savings on Christmas gifts, and the retailers equally bent on providing ample opportunity for shoppers to spend themselves silly. The perfect storm of capitalism, wrapped in a shiny non-recyclable holiday bow and blessed by the Almighty Dollar. But now, even that bastion of the season’s tradition has been overturned by a new, equally heart-warming tradition, lovingly called Grey Thursday.
For the past few years, a large number of national retailers including Macy’s, Walmart, Sears, and K-Mart, will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day so that America’s shoppers can abandon the turkey, stuffing, and gravy to frantically spend their holiday dollars one day sooner. Forget about the national Thanksgiving holiday proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. Forget about taking that day to spend with family and friends, to acknowledge and be thankful for the people and things in our lives. The Thanksgiving holiday seems destined for extinction, bowing to the evolutionary pressure of American consumerism.
Well, perhaps personal injury law firms should follow suit. Perhaps we should all bow to the public’s desire for constant access to goods and services, and for businesses’ desire to bring in constant income and outshine all competitors. Hmmm, I wonder what that would look like…
I know, how about this. We could keep our office open on Thanksgiving Day, so that anyone who just HAS to sue someone wouldn’t have to wait even a minute, much less a whole 24 hours. That way, we can crush our competitors who have been misguided enough to take a day off to express thankfulness for all that they have, and all that this fine system has provided them.
And to meet the needs of the public to take advantage of discounted services, we can offer a 25% discount to prospective clients who have been injured by the sale-priced, foreign-made defective products that they buy on Thanksgiving from the cheapest source possible. That way the consumer wins twice - once by getting the cheapest deal on the cheapest products from the soul-less mega retailers who will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner as usual while their poorly paid employees are forced to miss out on theirs, and once by reaping a financial settlement when the shoddy products blow up in their faces. Double bonus… a consumer’s dream.
While my tone is obviously meant to be snarky and sarcastic, I truly find this new trend disturbing. For many years I worked in the retail and restaurant industries, where I knew that I would often have to work on weekends and evenings. But at least I had my major holidays to look forward to, when even the retail industry allowed their workers a paid vacation. You know, the Big 3 – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Now, I am forced to wonder if the other two holidays are nearing extinction as well.
My hope is that all shoppers just stay home on Thanksgiving Day, cook some poultry, invite the whole family over, and celebrate our time together. I can’t think of a better way to give the big retailers a bigger message – our families and our traditions are more important than your bottom line.
Disclaimer – I was kidding about the 25% discount. That’s just crazy talk!
- Ingrid Taylor, Brett Murphy paralegal and resident snark