Weekly Feature

2014-11-26 / Editorial

Stores encroach on family time with earlier opening

Bee Editorial

Stores have announced earlier opening times this year in anticipation of Black Friday, with Target opening its doors to shoppers at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than a year ago, to kick off the holiday shopping season. Wal-Mart and other stores also announced that they would be opening earlier this year to accommodate shoppers waiting — often in line — for its sales.

It’s nothing short of ironic that Black Friday follows Thanksgiving Day. A day dedicated to giving thanks for our blessings comes directly before another that celebrates the pursuit of material things. It is a day on which shoppers literally have gotten trampled to death in order to get that popular toy or flat-screen TV. It’s all about spending more and getting more.

At its ugly core is the belief that those material objects, not relationships, bring happiness. What else could explain the madness on Friday morning? But, sadly, Black Friday is encroaching even further into American culture. One day of gorging on spending isn’t enough. Now, Black Friday begins on Thanksgiving — a holiday when at one time no stores were open at all. It was assumed that people were at home, enjoying their dinners and spending their time with family and friends, not out spending money.

Maybe one day stores will open Thanksgiving morning, and people will forgo Thanksgiving Day traditions altogether, letting a meal with loved ones and giving thanks become just another antiquated tradition, something our grandparents did but that we’d never do now. Who has time for a meal with family when all the sales are starting?

For many families, especially mothers and daughters, shopping is a tradition, something they enjoy doing together, something that builds relationships. And some see it as a competition, an extreme sport of sorts for serious shoppers. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, the economy needs our dollars, some might say desperately, especially here in Western New York.

But when getting more replaces giving thanks, that’s when we need to stop, pause and evaluate what’s important in life. As the hours stores open on Thanksgiving are becoming earlier and earlier each year, it makes us wonder whether the time will come when the holiday becomes like any other day.

If we’re so concerned about getting more that we neglect giving thanks on the one day a year dedicated to it, then that’s when we should admit a serious problem.

Let’s not let greed overshadow the blessing that is giving thanks.

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