Black Friday almost has become a holiday in itself. It is easier to find a parking spot at church on Easter Sunday than one at Target during the “shopping season”. Retailers register the vast majority of their sales during the period; and many credit it with their very survival. Media routinely reports on the travails of our consumerism with many hosting live remotes designed to fuel the frenzy.
Connecticut Democrat State Representative Matt Lesser again this year is advancing legislation in his state to require that retailers be closed on Thanksgiving Day – emulating existing laws in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. One can find the story wedged between reports of where to buy the hottest toys and electronics. Lesser waxes poetic about the plight of employed retailer who are expected to be at their posts early. His empathy does not extend to those of us in health care, public safety, entertainment, filling station, or other infrastructure roles.
As social morays evolve, we have slowly accepted as fact the Sunday work day. Retailers that provide the day for observation of religious beliefs (or the NFL) are now imagined to be quaint – or even as right-wing zealots. In a world where labor is already heavily regulated, does more intervention benefit anyone?
Our collective memories of “over the river and through the woods” to commune with family on this day custom designed for the purpose may simply be echoes of another time. But has our nostalgia distorted our recall? For me, memories include Thanksgiving starting especially early to get in chores before starting the work of preparing the big meal. Perhaps lesser should have required that the animals skip a day of feed or that the weather always remain temperate – or arrest the farmers themselves. We could have used a few extra hours of sleep.