Please Don’t Shop Tomorrow

I just saw a commercial on TV advertising the fact that one of the big box stores will be open all day tomorrow, Thanksgiving. You can get a jump on your holiday shopping, beat the crowds, and find all kinds of deals. All you need to do is head on over, on the day that is designated as a day of reflection about the sacrifices that our founders made and the brutal conditions they lived under during the early years of the Republic.

And so I post this in hopes that we can all boycott such corporate ploys. Their goal is profits, which is fine. But the goal of Thanksgiving is to allow us a day to spend with our families, in a kind of vicarious recognition that the American family first came together under extremely harsh conditions, where we broke bread with the natives.

According to a similar sentiment, in the past two or three years I’ve engaged in almost zero commerce on Sunday (only that which has been necessary). It’s something I picked up from my Mormon friends: if you believe in respecting the Sabbath, then it’s incumbent on you to avoid participating in commercial behavior lest you essentially force others to work and capitalize on our boundless consumerism. If we all recognized the Sabbath, we would spend the same amount of money overall, but local businesses would close on Sunday and thus their proprietors would gain time with their families.

And how much more magnified is this on the holidays? Sure, we all want to beat the day-after-Thanksgiving crowds, but do you really want to do so at the expense of having your neighbor working Thanksgiving evening?

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, ,
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.

Comments

  1. bryan says:

    I agree with you … mostly.

    if you believe in respecting the Sabbath, then it’s incumbent on you to avoid participating in commercial behavior lest you essentially force others to work and capitalize on our boundless consumerism. If we all recognized the Sabbath, we would spend the same amount of money overall, but local businesses would close on Sunday and thus their proprietors would gain time with their families.

    Actually, the “sabbath” is Saturday, the seventh day of the week, not Sunday, the first day of the week, which is “The Lord’s Day.”

    Dean Esmay had a blog discussion about this recently here.

    That said, I’m all for having a day when there’s not so much going on, and I wish we still had some “blue laws” to fall back on to keep one day as a “breather” if nothing else.

  2. Open on Thanksgiving?!?

    I hope this trend is nipped in the bud. If it proves successful, I fear for the sanctity of another American holiday under the heel of capitalism.

  3. Leopold Stotch says:

    Bryan: yeah, you’re right — for Christians the Sabbath was replaced by the Lord’s Day (it’s the only of the Ten Commandments not repeated in the New Testament). But Christians are supposed to respect Sunday the same way that Jews are expected to respect Saturday.

    Maybe my post could be a bridge; we could all disengage in commerce on American holidays for the sake of our fellow citizens.

  4. […] Leopold Stotch over at Outside the Beltway has called on us to boycott Thanksgiving Day shopping. I share his sentiments, and this is one “peeve” that really gets the Fair Maid riled up: holiday shopping (shopping on the holiday itself, not shopping for the holiday). I echo Leopold’s clarion call, and would only add that the word “holiday” comes from a contraction of the words “holy day.” I’m not saying that commerce is unholy, or that the two shall never mix, but from time immemorial one way of setting apart holy days from every other day was to cease business and commerce on those days, and devoting them to religious and family observances. Thus, the Israelites were commanded to not work on the Sabbath (”Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy”). […]

  5. anjin-san says:

    Lets extend it to not shopping at Wal-Mart, ever.

  6. DL says:

    I remember when a major auto dealership moved through NYC and into CT. Months later it forced a legal tight to open on Sundays. Blue state Ct. jumped at the chance to kill religious based blue laws and shop on Sundays – so families were forced to work, or suffer.
    I am convinced that people buy cars because they need one – not because the store happens to be open on Sundays. Competion? It took a little while and they all were open so no competetive gain made. More salesmen driving, heating the places, more gas used, more accidents? What was the real gain?

  7. Jo says:

    Just a quick note to wish you and yours a great and safe Thanksgiving. And I agree — no shopping on Thanksgiving.

  8. Gimp says:

    May I suggest that if you wish to see the effects of closing on Sunday, travel to Germany and see what it has done to them and then, as a comparison, travel to Poland and see what staying open does.

    I submit that the quality of our life will go down if we close on Sunday.

  9. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    I wish I could afford to go shopping on Thanksgiving, not that I would but at least I would have the luxury of making the choice not to do so. But that’s another story.

  10. Debbie Downer.

  11. Anderson says:

    Gimp, you’re gonna have to explain that one to the slow-minded among us, like me.