Just a few more dollars. That's all we need. Just a few more dollars.
The quest for a few more dollars is going to be the ruination of this country in so many ways. The love of money has just about destroyed Thanksgiving for a large portion of the nation. Didn't I read somewhere that the love of money is the root of all evil?
Now I realize that Christmas has been commercialized to the point that federal courts have ruled that it is not necessarily a religious holiday. We've seen decorations as early as Labor Day for years, and I have been seeing Christmas tree pictures on my Facebook page all week. To each his own, of course, and far be it from me to tell anyone when to decorate for the holidays.
But the thing that has really set me off has been this so-called Black Friday madness. John Wesley once wrote that what one generation tolerates the next will embrace. The great theologian might not have been speaking of masses of people fighting over flat screen televisions and cheap toasters but he was certainly a prophet.
A generation ago we thought it was cute that stores would open at 6 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. Stores would offer "door buster" prices on a few items and early bird sales on a wider selection and a few hearty shoppers would arise early, take a coffee I.V. and head out to stand in line to be among the first shoppers through the doors of whatever establishment they chose to patronize.
I remember 15 years ago watching the females in my family plot and scheme on Thanksgiving night, even before the last bite of turkey and sweet potato pie had been digested, about which stores they would visit in which order. I even wrote a column, likening them to Gen. Eisenhower scheming for the invasion of Normandy on D-Day with map pins and the whole nine yards.
It was fun. It was harmless. I even woke up at 5:30 one Friday to stand in line at the local Target to interview the masses and try to find out what the big attraction was, other than saving a buck or two on some electronic appliance or a goose down comforter.
Retailers became enamored of the crowds and began to claim that the day after Thanksgiving would determine whether they ended the entire year in the "black" or whether their ledgers would be covered with red ink at year's end. Pressure, pressure, pressure.
Then all the big stores began trying to one-up each other. The six o'clock start became 5 a.m. and then 4 a.m. and then Black Friday began, literally, at midnight. If you open it, of course, they will come -- so they did, and they did. Shoppers lined up like lemmings being lead to the sea, and now the whole proposition has gotten completely out of hand.
Now Black Friday begins on Thursday afternoon and evening, and some stores don't bother to close at all for Thanksgiving, which was created -- really and truly -- to be a day in which the nation pauses to thank God for the blessings with which we have been bestowed, and not a kick-off to the gluttonous Christmas shopping season.
"Hurry up and serve the dressing, Nana, I have to go and stand in line at Walmart to get that $29 DVD player that will shoot up to $34 next week, before dropping to $24.99 the first day of December."
Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but only a slight one.
I realize, of course, that people don't have to shoot out of the house with pie crumbs on their chin to stand in line at the big box stores, but I also realize that the people who have to work at those stores do have to be there, or risk losing their jobs.
I know a lot of people who work in retail. They have spouses and children and parents. They like turkey and dressing. They enjoy parades and football games and reminiscing with the aunts and uncles, too. And many of them would appreciate an opportunity to drink a hot cup of coffee while sitting on the front porch in the cool of the morning, thanking the God of Creation for the world we live in, just like I got to do.
They would just appreciate a day to stop and relax and prepare for the next 30 days of madness that awaits them. But no! No! A thousand, times, no! Some company might lose a sale or a few dollars.
Really? You think that if some shopper can't buy a watch or necklace or a Crock-Pot on Thursday they will just forget that they ever wanted it in the first place? I think not.
Big sigh right here. I know my words are futile. I also know that if we, the people, would stop patronizing these Thursday sales that the stores would quit having them. I know that for a solid gold fact. But we won't and they won't, so the country will go happily to hell in a hand basket and we will, one day, wonder what went wrong.
Black Friday has come and gone and tomorrow is Cyber Monday -- the day for online shopping. It never ends, does it? Speaking of which, we are offering free shipping on all books at www.darrellhuckaby.net through November!
Hey, if you can't beat 'em, might as well join them.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.