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Think Again: Assault by retailers on holiday traditions nearly complete

December 14, 2012

It’s a couple of weeks before Christmas so retailers are trying to squeeze some more dollars from consumers while they start preparing for the post-Christmas sales.

What a wonderful time of year.

It is a good reminder how the retail sector has managed to smother any possible meaning left of Christmas or any other similar holiday celebrated by other cultures and religions.

This reality hit me hard on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I had a household item I needed so after work I decided I would make a stop at Walmart. Despite that store being across the street from my office, I rarely shop there, not because I have an issue with Walmart, but because the retailer is just too big. It takes you hours just to find a product as you wander aimlessly through their warehouse-size store.

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As I approached the entrance to Walmart, I saw two TV news trucks and thought there had been an incident of some sort. Then I saw fencing in place and people who had set up tents outside and realized the TV news trucks were there to interview some of the early crazy people who had set up tents to camp out starting Wednesday so they can be one of the first to enter the store on Black Friday.

I was baffled by this.

I went into the store to look for the cleaning product I needed. Inside I witnessed an environment of intensity. The aisles were jammed with pallet after pallet of products, all cellophane wrapped with signs on them that said “Black Friday.” It was almost impossible to navigate the store as many aisles were literally blocked.

There were scores of Walmart staff unwrapping the pallets of products with great zeal because they were working against the clock. Management was giving orders to staff and senior management was conducting a meeting leaning against a pallet, reviewing their clipboards with inventories.

I stopped and took some pictures because those TV news stories I’ve been seeing year after year of the mob of people trampling each other to be the first into a store on Black Friday suddenly came to life for me.

It reminded me that while the Christmas holiday period has long since been turned into an exercise of materialism, the assault on Thanksgiving was almost complete too. With people camping outside stores and all the pre-Thanksgiving Black Friday advertising bombarding people, the retail sector is close to eradicating the meaning of Thanksgiving as well.

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