Whether turkey or tofu, stay home. Give thanks.
The gates of Hell were thrown wide. Retailers now opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day. In case the bizarre ritual of Black Friday wasn’t enough, people could sacrifice a former day of giving thanks to buy more junk in celebration of Jesus and Santa Claus.
Yes, I worked in retail. Think about it. Wall Street wasn’t open on Thanksgiving and closed early Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Government employees didn’t work Thanksgiving. Tell a lawyer the courts would be business as usual on Thanksgiving.
Consider the marketing angle of Black Thursday/Friday. Retail companies offered deals on a few items such as $7.99 toasters. Our store received fifty toasters. If you scored a toaster, you had an affordable gift for Aunt Edna. Two hundred people who didn’t get toasters were pissed off and wanted to know why the store didn’t get enough for everyone. I could either tell them that the toasters were used as chum so they would spend money on other stuff or that Bangladeshi children were required to attend school once a week therefore missing their toaster quota.
I didn’t dare mention they could’ve eaten pie while ordering from our website. I also didn’t mention that Edna might return the toaster the day after Christmas. Their cheapness would be revealed and their Thanksgiving wasted in long lines for a lousy merchandise voucher Edna used to purchase socks. We’d then resell the toaster at full price.
This madness had to end. I printed notes which said I wouldn’t patronize stores that opened on Thanksgiving. I asked retailers to consider their employees’ valuable family time. The words “greedy SOBs” weren’t used even once.
With a purse full of notes, I visited the major stores in the mall. I handed employees notes and asked them to pass it to their managers. I received thumbs up and fist bumps. Notes were left on tables of merchandise for others to find. I discreetly left notes in my store too.
Though I’d have to think outside the box for gifts this year, it felt good. I called my sister and told her what I’d done.
“You know that’s solicitation, right? You may spend Thanksgiving in jail.”
“Jail or work, hmm?” I did spend Thanksgiving in the hospital. That was awful. The turkey was dry. A morphine drip kept me relaxed and prevented choking.
Healthcare workers had my deepest respect. I’m alive because someone worked Thanksgiving. In my line of work, no one would die from going commando if they ran out of underwear and stores were closed.
When I thought of solicitation, I imagined six inch heels, red miniskirt, and sequined tube top. I’d never wear six inch heels.
“There are signs on the doors.” Sis said.
“I never noticed.” I’d read shoes and shirt required, no smoking, and the rest went blah, blah, blah.
I wished my sister would’ve mentioned this before I printed a thousand notes, stood in front of my Sunday congregation, and asked for their help. I hoped St. Mary’s congregation remembered the virtue of forgiveness if they got busted for solicitation.
I still had the warehouse store to solicit. I meant to encourage the business to find a heart and give Thanksgiving back to employees.
“Are you going to do it?” My sister egged me on like when we were kids.
I believed in Thanksgiving, not the crap they taught about Pilgrims and Native Americans in school. We all knew how the greed factor in that scenario played out. I believed in giving, in preparing a Thanksgiving meal for the soup kitchen with the St. Mary’s congregation. I believed in gratitude for time with loved ones. Hell yeah, I was doing it.
Though I chickened out handing my notes to employees, I laid notes throughout the store. Maybe littering would be a lesser charge.
Know what happened? Nothing. People worked. People shopped. Companies reaped profits which many didn’t share fairly with employees.
I have no idea what I’d do this year, but if the nightly news aired a segment on an employee who was fired for exercising freedom of speech, it will probably be me. One can dream…. Stay home. Give thanks. Peace.