This past Thanksgiving holiday Monday, I walked into Home Depot in the morning with my two children and was greeted by two cheery employees. We politely returned the greeting with a warm hello and light conversation. I couldn’t help but feel sad for them: why weren’t they home enjoying Thanksgiving with their families? Was it just the luck of the scheduling draw? As we drove home, I felt even worse. It’s because of people like me that shop on holidays all of the time, that they need to be there. If you know me, you know my mind didn’t stop there. I need to question humanity (seriously…) and why I had such strong feelings on the topic. I know that I can’t be the only one who does this!
I’ve believed for a long time now that society has an addiction to convenience and speediness. We live in a fast-paced world of instant connections and do-now desires through apps like facebook, online shopping, and 24hr hours of operation. It’s not that I can’t adapt to changing times, it’s that I believe we’ve lost an integral part of the balance in our lives. A part that used to force us to make other arrangements and plans, shop ahead of time and spend quality time with others or on our own.
When I was little, I remember on days like Christmas and other big holidays, there was usually one grocery store open and even then, it was only open for certain hours. Granted, I haven’t lived in Edmonton my entire life: maybe small towns are different. Stores like Staples, Winners, certain restaurants, etc… were never open. Those days were like driving through a ghost town to and from family visits. These days, it looks like any regular day with the reverse occurring- most stores are open and it’s odd to see one closed.
I used to refuse to go out on holidays, other than to and from family get-togethers. Now, on days like this past Thanksgiving holiday Monday, I appreciate the opportunity to be able to shop on a holiday. For the most part it’s because I can do so alone! My husband doesn’t get much time away from work and we he has some time off on major holidays and I can run a couple of errands sans child circus in tow I’m like that woman in the Ikea commercial yelling, “Start the car!!!” I’ve given in to the convenience of being able to shop on a holiday because I can shop alone and because of my family’s schedule. Life is so busy for everyone that this is our new reality and I’m an enabler. I personally find this horrifying but it’s the world that we’re living in.
So I’d like to know what other people think! As the Christmas holiday season approaches, what are your thoughts?
Why are we as a society being given the opportunity to shop? Are stores open on holidays because of customer demand? Why the heck are stores like Michaels open until midnight some nights prior to Christmas? Midnight! Why?! Do employees want to work holidays? Are stores afraid of the potential income loss of being closed when competitors are open? Are we such a culturally diverse society now that in order to respect everyone’s religions and beliefs that businesses need to be open 24-7 to prevent offending someone? OR have we just lost the value and meaning of holidays and what it means to have to be present in other ways in our holidays.