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Lane: Losing Thanksgiving

BY JOE LANE | NOVEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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I loved Halloween growing up. The holiday had everything a chubby little kid such as me could have ever wanted: costumes, candy, and staying up late. It was awesome. The best part, of course, was the candy that, if I budgeted just right, could last me all the way until Thanksgiving — the unequivocal champion of holidays, in my mind.

Naturally, a month bookended by Halloween and Thanksgiving as well as being full of candy in the middle was one I came to love quite dearly.

But then I grew up, and so, too, did the rest of the country. I stopped trick-or-treating and staying up late was no longer exciting; it was something I tried to avoid, assuming schoolwork allowed it. But while I maintained my love of both Halloween and Thanksgiving, Corporate America stopped caring about the holidays altogether.

Frankly, it seemed like these holidays that meant (and continue to mean) so much to me just got in the way of their fourth-quarter profit goals. But this was all merely conjecture; until last year, that is, when Black Friday gave way for Black Thursday, and families starting replacing “Today I’m thankful for …” with “Do you have the new iPhone in white?” at their local Best Buys and Walmarts. But I knew it wasn’t really their fault.

And while I despised this trend and became increasingly angry at every “Come check out our Black Friday deals starting this Thursday at 5 a.m.” advertisement I saw, I eventually came to terms with the fact that Thanksgiving really doesn’t matter to the person in the driver’s seat: the corporations driving this trend. I mean, after all, what can they sell to consumers besides giant turkeys? How about happiness? Togetherness? Joy? Family time? A momentary break from the hustle and bustle that is the 21st-century lifestyle we’re all leading?

Must be too damn hard to put a dollar sign on those things.

This year, however, things have officially gone too far. Beginning on Nov. 1, Amazon started its Black Friday deals, virtually a month before the day itself. But it wasn’t just Amazon. Target, Walmart, Kmart, Kohls, Best Buy, and the Gap (to name a few) also have references to holiday shopping on the home pages of their websites.

But few are as blunt about their intentions to eliminate Thanksgiving from the minds of the American consumer as Amazon, which has placed a giant black clock face on its homepage with red text overlaying it that reads, “Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week.” And if you click on the clock, you are redirected to a page listing all of the holiday deals you can get right now. Not one of which involves turkey, might I add.

Don’t get me wrong. I love capitalism. I love the idea of driving up profits in a fourth quarter dominated by the holiday shopping season, but I’d like to enjoy the month of November for once.

Luckily, I’m not entirely alone.

According to USA Today, “Deloitte’s holiday shopping survey of about 5,000 consumers, out this week, found that just 9 percent plan to shop Black Friday and that most plan to shop in December or other days in November.”

Of course, I’m glad to see the economy recovering and more kids getting what they want this holiday season; I just wish I didn’t have to lose Thanksgiving because of it.


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