Tuesday, November 25, 2014

in which I rail against american consumerism

I am super cross right now, so get ready.

Last night John and I stayed up far too late having a "heated discussion" about whether or not it is immoral to shop/make your employees work on Thanksgiving (it is).  As always in these discussions, John comes at the topic like a pragmatist, and I come at it like an idealist.  He thinks it's stupid but that stores have no choice, and I see his point--the greedy monsters will just go shopping somewhere else.  But it's disgusting, and I wish it were possible to boycott stores that open on Thanksgiving.  Not all stores--obviously stores that sell essentials have to be open.  But that people can't even wait until the sun sets before they're out buying their thneeds is so gross to me.  And that stores force their employees to work!  I get that there are people who want to work on Thanksgiving, not because they're can't afford not to, but because for whatever reason they don't have an attachment to Thanksgiving.  That's fine, let them work.  And people who want to shop, even though they are awful, should be allowed to shop.  But there should be a self-selected group of people who want to shop on Thanksgiving and people who want to work on Thanksgiving, and they could get together and consume to their hearts' content, and they can leave the rest of us alone while we spend one day a year devoted to something other than trying and failing to fill the emptiness inside that no matter how much we buy or sell it is never enough.

And I don't think I fully buy the line that stores have to be open on Thanksgiving just to make ends meet.  See this article.  If opening your store on Thanksgiving is the difference between survival and failure, then maybe you suck at your job and don't deserve to be in business anyway.

And I am infuriated when the very same people who say the stores have to be open on Thanksgiving turn around and say that if the employees don't like it they should get a job somewhere else.  Give me a break, that is such a false choice.  Working the front lines of retail is not generally the domain of people who have job mobility, and to tell them otherwise is disingenuous at best.  How can you argue that the store is a victim of circumstances, but not the employee?

And if you go shopping for non-essentials on Thanksgiving you are a terrible person, and it's time that you recognize that your choices affect other people.  You are supporting a morally indefensible system.  

Anyway, it may not be possible to boycott all the Thanksgiving traitors, but if you are frothy about this like I am, here is an article I found that lists the businesses that are closed on Thanksgiving.  Good for them.