I knew this day would come.
On May 27, Memorial Day, I said that I wouldn’t know what to post when Thanksgiving rolled around. On that day, I wrote about how the American consumer obsession with grabbing and spending negated the larger purpose of the holidays on which said activities took place. Go back to that date if you want to read the whole post.
Now that we’re approaching the biggest shopping day of the year, however, I want to offer some ideas about how the Thanksgiving holiday will change as we move through future generational convergences. A survey from the National Retail Federation was published late last week online, and it shows some interesting insights.
Out of almost 230 million people surveyed, 95.5 million say they will shop on Friday, 60 million on Saturday, and 30.3 million on Sunday, all at what I assume are large-scale retailers. Another statistic, however, that troubled me a bit was that which demonstrated the increased number of young adults shopping over the weekend, specifically, 8 in 10 18-24-year-olds. Within that demographic, 22% will shop on Thanksgiving Day, and a whopping almost 80% will shop on Black Friday.¹
When I saw this, it hit me. We’re heading into a new norm. In the May 27 post I mentioned, I bemoaned how holidays themselves were becoming meaningless in lieu of capitalist consumption, and how the holidays, Thanksgiving in particular, needed to return to their sacred roots. Like, how American society needed to regress two hundred years to when a holiday was a day of pondering, reflection, and humility.
Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. Especially since more and more millennials are adopting the Black Friday-shopper mentality. And as they grow up, they will impart these philosophies unto their children, who will, in turn, impart them unto theirs. The days reflected in Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” are gone, and never to return.
To offer a diversion from this doom and gloom, however, I will admit there were times when I’ve said I would maybe like to try shopping on that day one year. Early in the morning, I’d go out to Best Buy or Kmart or whatever and battle the rush to get a DVD or something. Just so I could say I participated that one year. But as I got closer to the date, I always changed my mind to, “Nah, I’d rather sleep.” And after the holiday, I thought, “How sensible of me.” Looking back, I think, “How virtuous.”
But who knows? Maybe one year I’ll actually brave the cold and the ornery shoppers and go out with friends and do it. Right now, though, all I can do is look out my window Thanksgiving night, and think of those people out there. And how they had been planning for the night for weeks. And how they probably had to rush through dinner just so they could get on line before sunset. And how the holiday that for them once meant spending time with beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins had now become somewhat of a Darwinist challenge for them, in which they asked themselves, “Can I get the most out of this day that I possibly can?”
They may think so, but at the moment, I must agree to disagree. After all, Stove Top stuffing and cranberry sauce are two things through which one must not rush. 😉
Well, I gotta go pack. Leaving tomorrow because of an impending storm on the East Coast. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!