Americans pride themselves on planning ahead. That’s why our big stores start celebrating Christmas in October.
Shopping, of course, is one of our inalienable rights, guaranteed by the constitution along with the right to pack more horsepower, firepower, and body mass per capita than any other nation on earth.
The consumer spending that drives our economy traditionally kicks into high gear on a day known as “Black Friday.”
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the symbolic day that store balance sheets turn from red ink to black ink. Black Friday is the day that stores turn profitable so, naturally, they want to stay open as long as possible.
To maximize black ink, stores open early on Black Friday. and each year they open earlier. 8AM gave way to 7AM which eventually gave way to 3AM.
Consumers craving deals and hoping to stretch their dollars in a poor economy queue in the cold for hours before the doors open. Long before Occupy Wall Street, the other 99% camped on sidewalks and peed in parking lots for Black Friday.
Black Friday can be quite competitive. One year, people got trampled as throngs pushed through the doors in a frenzied search for bargains. Another year, tragically, a store employee was killed by a stampede.
Given the opportunity to get drunk on black ink, it was only a matter of time before the big stores figured out that they could open even earlier by opening the night before. In the past, “the night before” corresponded to Thanksgiving dinner, our most sacred public holiday besides Halloween.
But, as our founding fathers so foundingly declared: Nothing is more sacred than commerce.
Are you looking for an excuse to abandon those dull, stuffed relatives? Need some aerobic shopping after the big meal? Run out of pumpkin pie or just worried that someone else is going to get the last big screen TV deal?
Give thanks, America. The mega-stores are now open right after Thanksgiving dinner.
So when you sit down to your rushed Thanksgiving feast this year, be sure to give thanks to those store employees who are giving up their Thanksgiving and risking their lives to protect our freedom to shop 24/7.