We’re hurdling headlong into the holidays, and, man, do I have stuff to say! Right!? I mean, I know all you out there who actually know me in real life (no comments about how nobody else is reading, please) are just shocked that I have opinions on stuff, AND that I’m willing to actually speak them out loud. Try to settle down. I’ll wait while you allow this foreign concept of Bird with opinions to sink in. HA! I crack myself up.
I’m reading my Facebook feed and there’s feed and there’s just so much to have opinions about! And some of it I might even be right about. Though (and this part might actually shock you) I am willing to admit that I might be wrong. Probably not, and you’ll have to convince me, but maybe, so go ahead and tell me if you think I am. Let’s just keep it off Facebook. That seems smart these days, no?
I have opinions on some stuff that just don’t amount to much. I mean, I’m not going to try to convince you one way or another here. Just spout. Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. I keep seeing this stuff on my feed. No, I don’t have a problem with these ideas, but it just all seems so self-righteous to post them on your wall. And I know that the folks whose walls I swiped them from are good people who mean well. I know that they feel these things strongly and truly feel that they are helping to make our country a better place by reposting these. And I also know, or hope I’m right, that they will follow through and actually buy local when they can and stay out of retail on Thanksgiving day. This isn’t about an opportunity to judge. But I can’t do it. I can’t just post it and not comment at length. I’ll put them here instead and ramble for a while about the ideas they represent, okay?
WAR ON THANKSGIVING? Really? I’m pretty sure the retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving are not trying to eliminate this holiday. Rather, they NEED there to be a Thanksgiving to mark the all out craziness that is the “holiday shopping season.” It’s true that they didn’t use to open their doors on Thanksgiving. It’s true that the season used to begin the day AFTER Thanksgiving, but I’ll get to the Black Friday thing in a minute. For now, let’s just unpack the whole open on Thanksgiving thing. So, now that shopping on Thanksgiving IS a thing, now that millions of dollars will be changing hands that day, now that the shoppers are there, you really want more retailers to look at that money and just say no. You want them to just turn down their share of those dollars because it’s the right thing to do? Yes, you say, that’s exactly it. Well, okay, fine. I am totally on board with believing in people to do the right thing for the right reason, even if it costs them financially. It’s sort of like non-compulsory charitable giving. We can count on people to do the right thing, so we don’t need use tax dollars to pay for quite so many of the things some people need because we can count on people and private organizations to do the right thing for the right reasons, right? Hmm. Seems like we’ve disagreed on that before.
Then there’s this one. It’s not a bad idea. I have no beef with the idea of buying locally. In fact, I think it’s great if my local businesses get some business out of it. There’s a wonderful new bakery in downtown Worthington and you should totally check them out. Sassafras Bakery has gotten rave revues and I hope it thrives, but come on. A pie is like, $30. I don’t think that’s over priced for what you get. After all, someone lovingly prepared this pie from fine fresh ingredients just for you. I’ll bet it’s the best pie you can find in town. But if I decide to find money in the budget for pie that my aunt didn’t make, I’m gonna pick up one from the Kroger bakery for $8. Will it be as good? Probably not, but I’ll still have another $22 to spend on the boxed cereal and non-organic milk. Do I WANT to that local bakery to do well? Hell yeah. (At least a little bit because it’s in the building that used to hold the stationery shop where I ordered my wedding invitations, but I’m sometimes a bit irrational like that.) I want them to thrive. I hope they pay their employees well. I hope people feel all that wonderful, homey, community love every time they walk in the door. I’m thinking I need to stop by for a cookie and a cup of coffee today. (I have some time since the Baby Bird is going to Grandma’s.) But I can’t local businesses are very often much more expensive. Not because they want to be, but because of the economic issues involved. I get that. It’s complicated, but that doesn’t mean I have more disposable income. As for gifts? Yeah, I’ll likely look for smaller (possibly higher priced) items. I would rather give a lovely pair of handknitted gloves for the same price as a whole set of mass produced winter gear. But I can’t be guilted into not buying the more reasonably priced fleece gloves for my three kids because I would go broke buying them ALL handknits and meanwhile their hands are cold.
And then there’s the whole chaos of Black Friday. I know some of you love it. Some of you will set your alarm clocks for the middle of the night and then you’ll go out in your pajamas and delight in the whirlwind race of elbows and ramming shopping carts to get the two 60″ TVs that are for sale for $50. But it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Not because I don’t like to shop. I do. It may be my most favorite past time. But not that day. The joy has been completely sucked out of it for me that day. I like to browse, to pick things up, to imagine buying it, owning it or giving it, to picture using it or how I might wrap it. I love scanning the entire department for the item that will catch my attention and call me to further investigate. I like to imagine the person receiving the item. I need to do all that to make a purchase decision. On Black Friday, none of that is possible. I don’t mind if it’s busy. I love feeling like I’m sharing all that experience with lots of other folks out because they have loved ones to buy for. I just don’t want to be knocked down at any point in the process. I don’t want to purchase anything because the sale will run out in eight seconds or because if I don’t the lady behind me will get it and that ain’t right because I got up earlier and I deserve it and GET OUT OF MY WAY!
I won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving because I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t ever want to forget for one second how lucky I am. Not only will I be gathered with my family in a warm, safe place, but there will be more food than we know what to do with. We will all of us eat until it gets boring. It will be completely unnecessary to eat the food we will consume that day. Totally unhealthy, and perhaps even unsafe. Some of us will drink a little too much. No one will worry too much about where we will sleep that night. We will all enjoy the luxury of our own pompous idea that we somehow need all the excess of that celebration. That will keep me way too busy to bother with shopping on Thanksgiving. My children will never wonder if mom is going shopping on the fourth Thursday of November and hopefully, it will never occur to them to go. The day after we will look for something light to eat, and revel in the bonus day off that Daddy gets. We’ll probably have some other family obligation to see to. We will stay as far away from retailers as possible because shopping just isn’t fun that day. Except, wait, that’s not true. We will have a party on Saturday, so I will have to go to the grocery on Black Friday. Let’s hope Kroger isn’t giving away iPods or selling too many super cheap TVs. For those two days we won’t participate in the chaos. If other folks do, well, than they do. I’m grateful none of my loved ones work in retail these days, but if they did and had to miss Thanksgiving, we’d probably celebrate around their schedule in some way and remember to mention their employment in our prayers of thanksgiving.
I’ve also got opinions of UGGs and the revelation that they are made of sheep skin (uh, okay), engineering toys for girls, the governor of Oklahoma, the mayor of Toronto, and a whole bunch of other political tidbits. I guess none of them are all that astounding, though. I better post this for now. Stay tuned for a general life update in then next day or two.