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Sunday, 24 November 2013

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Over the years, the holidays from Memorial Day to New Year's have blended together in retail America like the East Coast megalopolis from Bangor to Washington D.C. -- one giant smear. Mike, in case you think you are alone in your cermudgeon-hood (-ness?) I have been voicing my displeasure locally about the pre-Thanksgiving playing of Christmas music in stores around town. Drives me bananas, although some percentage of TOP commentators are already rolling their eyes and thinking that I am already a fair piece down the road to wherever "bananas" begins. The you-can't-beat-me-to-the-start-of-holidays does smack of desperation, though. The most common response I get to my complaints in retail locations (I'm talking to you Kinney's Drug Stores . . .) is, "it's not under our control, the store music is set from corporate headquarters." Some mid-level executive needs to be unearthed and given a good talking to. In the spirit of the holidays, I refrain from more than a glancing reference here to the preferred public punishments and pillories of yesteryear, like the stocks, flogging and liberal application of tar and feathers.

Ha-rumph.

Ben Marks

Hear, hear! Well said. I have worked retail on that fateful day and I can only say that I have the deepest sympathy for those trapped into service on that day. And the music, being forced to listen to the same music week after week is maddening. I've always felt that if it is necessary to play that same "cheerful" music over and over in a retail setting, it should also be played in EVERY office, conference room, rest room, elevator, reception area throughout the company. No exceptions.

Mike wrote:
NOTE #2: Six additional paragraphs were sacrificed in the writing of this post. ...

To which I say, can't we please see the other six too? Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top.

What's this "Thanksgiving" thing?

Yuletide North Korea, so true!

The two driving forces of our society are greed and selfishness. You left out selfish ...

....Mike,
I agree 100% with all of the above and would love to see the deleted or otherwise left out. My wife and I of 35 years avoid all
holiday crap and raise our glasses to the damn good fortune of being
together another year.

Oh Mike, pleeeease, give us those six paragraphs!

Bravo!

When I encounter an ad in an online video then I skip the whole video after two seconds.

I'd sing your praises for this post, Mike but there's no doubt it would be some tune stuck in my head that you don't need stuck in yours. Let's leave it at bravo, well said! Thank you.

Amen brother. As a Canadian, I'd like to be able to say that, because our Thanksgiving occurs in October, we don't suffer from the same rampant Christmas commercialization .... but I'd be lying.

I'm thankful for TOP,
......and several other things and persons.
I try hard to keep that gratitude in the front of my mind, rather than the back.
I think (hope) most people are Grateful, but gratitude is a gentle emotion that can easily be Pushed to the back of the mind by pace and pressures.
The occasional Rant is good for us, it helps gentle gratitude assume a more rightful place in our consciousness.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Michael Perini
PS.... So does this mean that TOP 'doorbusters' don't start until Friday?
Just askin'..........;-)

[Our day is clearly "Small Business Saturday," when I will no doubt encourage people to shop...through our links. But that's safely past Thanksgiving. --Mike]

My heart aches for the thousands of people working in typically low-paying, thankless retail jobs who can't have the restful Thanksgiving that I enjoy. To me, "Black Friday" is a black eye on our culture. It makes me wonder whether people really pause the day before to reflect and be thankful for what they have.

My personal boycott of any Thanksgiving shopping is open to any and all who care to join me. If enough of us just say no, the greedy ogres will get the message, though sadly not in time for this year.

Amen!!!!

Strike Target from your list:

thanksgiving - we will be open from 8:00 pm on thurs 11/28/13 until 11:00 pm on fri 11/29/13.

Bravo, Mike. Too much is never enough for the greedy retailer. I myself will not shop in any store that opens on our national day of Thanksgiving. Also, I will boycott said stores until next Thanksgiving, and thereafter, if they continue the practice. Thanks for the post!

Amen...!

(and can we please see the missing paragraphs?)

This particular Santa is taking Thanksgiving Day off to watch Macy's Parade (does their Santa have dark hair this year?) & to go out for a traditional dinner (no fowl please!).

Well said!
The fact is, if there is a coordinated, across the board sales day (like black friday or boxing day) people will come out in droves regardless of when that day actually is. You do not need it to be on thanksgiving day, nor the day after xmas. The stores can open a few days after xmas and have exactly the same effect or it can be any time in the year, middle of the summer if you like, where us Canadians could have fun waiting in line overnight, which I have never done, nor will do for a sale. Retailers need to be reigned in. It is getting out of control. Say what you will about unions, and I am neither for or against, but there can still be a place for them and retail might be an area in need of them.

Ditto.

"The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands - the ownership and control of their livelihoods - are set at naught, we can have neither men's rights nor women's rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease."
— Helen Keller, IWW member, 1911

Beautifully put Mike. If I were to say I enjoyed Christmas as much as anyone, that would only to apply to anyone who found the whole episode a contrived endurance event which lays waste to much of the month of December.

For nearly five weeks (as it has already started) most of London is off limits to me. Every train is packed tighter than a battery farm, every street is a painful glacier of bored humanity and every store is a tinny music box of triteness.

And all the poor shop assistants who have had a month of overtime get a fleeting 24 hour reprieve before the sales start on boxing day. My heart goes out to them more than anyone.

I'm not religious in any way even if I try and maintain a "Christian Attitude" to most people, but I find the words of the Sermon on the Mount quite ironic....

"Ye can not serve God and mammon" (Matt. vi. 24).

Quite ironic for the most important Christian festival in the calendar!

If you could "get rid of billboards, television commercials, painted public busses," I would vote you in as President, if I was American.

This is absolutely one of the reasons I patronize B&H and Adorama. They tend to respect the sentiment and ethos of the holidays and their employees. That said, the unrelenting push towards commercialization of *everything*© pushes me away. I am certainly no hermit, but stores are the last place I want to be on Thanksgiving.

On this Thanksgiving Day, let us give thanks to the credit card companies who enable us to buy stuff we cannot afford and do not need, just because they're on sale the day after.

I certainly do protest, and sometimes actually complain, about Christmas decorations and music appearing before Thanksgiving.

In fact I don't much like Christmas music in stores ever, makes me want to stay away. I still have very fond memories of the year Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas album came out and nearly everybody played it instead of the old versions; much better!

Shopping online is the way to avoid this, of course.

Thanksgiving is a very strange holiday. While the name and mythology is Christian, it's not actually a holiday proclaimed by any major church. It's sort of another one of the patriotic holidays, but with a much stronger overtone (at least in the mythology) of religion.

Mike, you said it better than I could, bravo. The gawd awful commercialized music, cheesy decor, fake cheeriness, over heated credit cards, mainly the greed.

Okay, I promise (with crossed fingers behind my back) that I will wait till after sunrise on Friday to post process my digital photos from the Great Day of Thanksgiving.

Amen, Brother. I would only change one thing: Delay black Friday openings until 7AM, so workers can get a decent night's sleep. It would probably also make sales people friendlier and more effective. And I would make another change: I would limit all political campaigns to 90 days prior to the election. Any earlier electioneering would result in the candidate being disqualified to hold office.

It's easy to get rid of all TV ads, don't have a tv. We don't have one, and I can say I don't miss it. (Although I would have liked to see the Dr Who special).

I admire your ability with the written word. Can you do that in conversation too ?

[Thanks, and no. I'm bad at talking, which is why I turn down invitations to lecture--people think I'm being modest, but I say I'm being realistic.

Talking is like a snapshot, whereas writing is like oil painting. You lay in the groundwork, then work on the details, rework what doesn't look right, take out this bit and add another bit--and in between each step you can pause, think, and consider. And I can stare at the ceiling for fifteen seconds while I try to put my finger on the word I'm thinking of, and the fifteen-second pause does not show up in the finished result at all.

Even after it's posted, the paint is still not dry, and I can do touch-ups. that's a big difference from publication in ink, and one I appreciate. --Mike]

Great post, Mike; I'm with you 100%. By the way, there was nothing over the top in the fourth graph of your post that referred to tampling and Wal-Mart. You probably already know this, but you used a line ripped from the headlines, circa 2008:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

In the end, as is the case with bad government and so much more, the solution comes down to us. Just as we can choose to be better-informed, more-involved citizens who vote poor lawmakers out of office, we can choose not to participate in the cultural train wreck that Christmas has become. Collectively, we have more power than we might imagine. But it takes effort and patience.

In only the very best meaning of the phrase, Merry Christmas, everyone.

Then move to Massachusetts, which still has blue laws about opening on Thanksgiving. Also, no liquor sales on Sundays (except for within 10 miles or so of the NH border, where it's legal, due to over-the-border competition). Oh, and (near) universal health insurance coverage. Are we Godless socialists or not? You decide...

"Yuletide North Korea". What a thought. Can I join the throng clamouring for the missing 6 paragraphs?

The Christmas trees went up about a week before Halloween in Bloomingdales, through which I was taking a shortcut. An employee gave me the official customer greeting- somehow my reply of "Merry Christmas!" didn't register.

Yes the exec's are greedy, but alas they aren't the only one's to blame when your neighbor thinks saving $100 on a tv is better than sex.

Great picture - I had no idea turkeys could sleep like that!

Just for info, Christmas is not the most important Christian festival in the calendar: that would be Easter. Not *quite* as commercial, but twice as important.

VT

I used to agree with you completely. Now I run a small business that makes a large proportion of its money based on Christmas sales, going into one of the shortest Christmas seasons possible.

If I don't convince people to start thinking about Christmas now, it makes a pretty huge difference, not just to how my kids' Christmas looks, but how the next year looks for me as well.

So on a certain level, you're totally right. In fact, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. On the other hand, without Christmas, none of my family gets to eat that Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanks to whom?
Thanksgiving is a rather cheesy ceremony, that smacks of the quaint nostalgia displayed in those old Gary Cooper movies, & inappropriate in a modern world. But I'm with you on most else of your ideas here.

Generally, I am in agreement with you, Mike. A couple of caveats, however. First, in my 35 year law enforcement career, there were many times when I thought everyone seemed to be a criminal, or every kid was a delinquent (an analogy to America is greedy). I had to continually remind myself that it was a small minority that were errant in their ways and the majority were good people. I have driven all the way across America and back twice in the past year and good people abound everywhere. I met wonderful people everywhere I went.

Second, isn't the business community only responding to the demands of its customers? Isn't that what happens in any commercial endeavor, whether retail, sports, entertainment or otherwise? So who is at fault?

Third, about working on Thanksgiving, among Jews and Christians, many lament having to work on Saturdays and Sundays let alone Thanksgiving.

Agree 100%, every word. I've opted-out of Christmas and the commercial free-for-all for the last 20 years. No tree. No lights. No songs. Nothing. Christmas morning I'm up and out early headed for the woods to count birds for the Audubon national bird count.
fyi.. moi: retired engineer, 65 yo

Mike, please post the missing 6. Would love to read them.

I certainly do protest, and sometimes actually complain, about Christmas decorations and music appearing before Thanksgiving.

As an Englishman, I have no idea when thanksgiving is (or what it is for) but I protest about anything to do with Christmas appearing before the 21st of December.

My brother in law is getting married at 7PM on Black Friday. He is a manager for Target. He goes to work at mid night Thursday and could not take off work early on Friday as planned...he was deemed ESSENTIAL and was told TFB when he protested this unplanned schedule change. Due to other family situations the date could not be changed but they were able to get the 7 PM time at his church. He needs his job so he'll have been up for for 20 hours, minus whatever kind of nap he can grab, by the time the ceremony starts. He needs his job so...

I saw my first Christmas "buy $#1+" display in D.C. in friggin' SEPTEMBER his year!

Mike, I agree with you on almost all this... I'm not particularly religious but I'm not sure what the "religious" have to do with making people work on holidays (maybe I misinterpreted that but you seem to tie them in with people working thanksgiving) and it has been liberals/progressives that have been and are continuing to do the social engineering in this country, since good ole' FDR, which is why this country is drowning from political correctness and out of control govt. interference and regulation.

I believe it was James Thurber who called this the "holy merchandising season."

One of our local radio stations kicked into its Christmas music 24/7 programming while the kids were still counting their Halloween candy.

No. Just no.

Saw the first Christmas decorated house on November 1st. Again, no.

As for Black Friday, to me it represents everything that has gone wrong with western culture. Watching people get crazy over cheap plastic crap makes me sad; being caught in that madness would be my idea of hell.

Ugh. That was horrible news when I heard about retailers opening on Thanksgiving. I don't even shop on Black Friday. In fact, I don't really "go" Christmas shopping much at all. Certainly no day trips to the mall or anything like years ago. Sure, a few odds & ends get purchased locally, but most of my shopping is done online now. I still look for bargains on things I might want to buy that I know are likely to go on sale ... but more & more I realize what a waste of time & effort it all is. Rush to shop here in the next three days to get free shipping or 10% off ... The most fun part of holiday shopping is when we have an opportunity to spend time at a craft fair. They can be hit or miss, but great places to pick up small things for kids' teachers, coaches, etc. (And they don't hold those on Thanksgiving day !!!)

You no longer have to be Scrooge to say, "Bah, humbug!" You just have to be sane.

City without billboards is possible, and it has been done in Sao Paulo: http://www.thecity2.org/stories/a-world-without-advertising

So, despite being in a country with no such holiday/tradition, I can only sympathise and agree.

That said, I've spent more than one Christmas in the office in order to get away from the inevitable Jingle Bells rubbish. It was invariably wonderful. I was never the only one... No work got done, of course. Just good company and ales, and occasionally a frenetic game of Quake

OMG, I'm so with you on all this. The Xmas music has started in the grocery store and it's so oppressive. Maybe I should use those earplugs I carry around in my purse (so that I have them in case I wind up in an airplane next to a bawling baby). I'm not the type to go around with ear-buds and my own music plugged in, but I might just do that this year in self-defense.

You should see the accelerating increase in Christmas sales, marketing, decorations, and all related in Japan, a country with relatively few Christians. It's all about making yen, and those making the yen are primarily Japanese companies. Halloween has become bigger here too, for the same reasons. ¥¥¥¥. Valentines Day started it all decades ago with the help of chocolate makers. So the US may be a leader in this, but it ain't alone. I do wish Thanksgiving would catch on here, however, for I am tired of searching for, and then paying $30 for a 6-8 pound turkey. (Yes, there are such things.)

The problem with Christmas music, much of which I listen to during the season for nostalgic reasons, is places like Starbucks. In addition to serving coffee that tastes like burnt charcoal water, they play the most horrid covers of holiday songs known to man. One would be better off downloading and listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks. Less irritating.

"My goal in life is to have only one thing to do every day, and then put that off until tomorrow."

You are now officially my hero, Mike!

I wonder if all that xmas music they play in stores is copyrighted. I wonder if the creators are getting their royalties. This may be a way to stop it.

Um, well Mike, all I can come up for comment to your most excellent and apt rant is...well... +1

Sad to note that these holidays have become such important components in determining a "good year" for the American Economy.

I'm one of those people who suffers through the holiday mess, It's gaudy and sickening to watch. No, Im not a scrooge or a negative person..I just hate this culture of meaningless bullshit that much of the U.S. subscribes to.


With you 100% on this one, Mike!
Have a good holiday!

I'm completely in agreement - I'm bothered by extraneous noise (audio and visual), and getting rid of advertisements is an enormous fight for me. I don't own a TV, listen only to public radio (except during baseball season, when I put up with ads during games because I haven't figured out how to avoid them), use a Mac with two separate ad-blocking programs to browse the web, and live in a place with effective anti-billboard laws (the lovely People's Republic of Vermont). If only we regulated big business a little better, I wouldn't have to do so much of this myself!
There is quite a bit of interesting stuff going on in VT (and other places, I'm sure) with the local food movement and other backlash against our over-consumerized society. We also have a lot of great local businesses here - I buy most of my camera gear at Green Mountain Camera, computer stuff at Small Dog Electronics, and a huge percentage of my clothing at the Outdoor Gear Exchange - all of which are local and committed to a more sustainable world. I don't manage to eat local all the time (embarrassed to say I stopped at McDonalds tonight, because I was on the road late and little else was open), and I still drive way too much!

Never having been close to Thanksgiving (not American) I always thought that the tradition was built on the thanks for the meagre food and resources that were available at that austere time of early settlement. I guess all traditions eventually transform into blowouts. Merry Christmas!

Maybe better if this song sticks in one's head then? http://bit.ly/If97Zj

"Blue laws" are usually god-based, in fact that's one of the reasons I dislike them. But two of the most liberal states in the country, Massachusetts and Minnesota, both have them (I don't think I've ever lived anywhere you could buy liquor on Sunday, it sounds weird!).

For the last two decades, the family holiday letter and website has been called "The Bah-Humbug News." I also still have the giant sign my sons created from blinking xmas (sic) lights that says "Bah Humbug".

I worked in a shop that was in a mall during one Christmas season. It was a good thing that it wasn't a gun shop, because we heard each beep beep beep song so many times that we were seriously discussing the feasibility of shooting out the speakers. Every time I hear [title withheld out of consideration for the proprietor] I get flashbacks.

You want to know what is really obnoxious? Is countries like my own, Portugal, adopting completely foreign to us "holidays" like Valentine's day and Halloween... All for the sake of shopping malls selling a few more things that nobody really needs.

I would also like to give in a word of sympathy for the poor guys doing the "Shopping mall Santa Claus" acting, having to put up with all sorts of people...

It's the culture of "having", instead of "being". We have been dollarized...

Ingratitude, in my view, is the United States' national disease.

We are, apparently, the wealthiest nation and at the same time, the least satisfied. Marketers, of course, want us dissatisfied with everything, in the hopes that we will buy something that will scratch the itch.

Some years ago I read a book entitled "Standing in a River Waiving a Stick." It was a series of essays about trout fishing. One of them outlined the stages that a lovely trout stream often goes through. (1) A sporting writer discovers it and writes and article about it. (2) Fishing guide services and pro shops pop up along its banks. (3) A yuppie fern bar appears in which its ungrateful customers can complain that their cappuccino is not frothy enough.

Now the author delivers the kicker: (not verbatim) "The ranchers and farmers who live along the river know that life is a messy, dangerous business, and we ought be darn grateful when things go right."

May you, Mike, and all the denizens at TOP have much to be grateful for this year and sing it loudly around whatever graces your table this Thanksgiving.

I always wonder how much of an impact an extra day like that would have on sales anyway. That suggests that those who'd buy on the holiday wouldn't buy on any of the other days on the run to Christmas.

Two of the reasons why I shop at Costco are that they are closed on Thanksgiving and you can download the profiles for their printers.
I don't download the profiles as I am happy with what I get but I love the thought of it. I regularly give away 20x30 poster board prints from them to my pals and they look very nice indeed especially for $25 a pop.
Oh, and I avoid Black Friday events like the plague.

Please - no Christmas Music. On another note, have you ever noticed that Christmas is effectively over (in mass media, and retail stores) the day after Christmas, thereby missing Christmas week? It seems we speed up the holiday and then discard it once it is here, and discard the best, non-commercial part. I enjoy Christmas week to visit friends and family and just hang out.

In Mike's (equally thought-provoking) addendum:
"It's not Christmas that I object to. It's the excessive commercial exploitation of Christmas by businesses and corporations—the worship of Mammon."

Yes, but isn't that the same commercial exploitation that's endemic in our society ? Our politics ? Thanksgiving is just one of the more visible signs. I'm becoming increasingly cynical with age (not uncommon, from what I gather), but there's not much these days that isn't done out of a "legal obligation to stockholders". Layoffs, raises, opening on thanksgiving ... all to increase shareholder value. Of course, major shareholders include all executives in the company; all their cronies from companies whose boards they sit on; politicians and lobbyists. The rich get richer while you (the proverbial you) trample your neighbor to get that 60" flat screen for $700, because you haven't had a raise in three years.
I figure one day, it will all crash down on them when the 99% simply can't afford to buy enough stuff they need us all to buy.

Be thankful you don't live in London, where Harrods open their Christmas shop in July!

http://www.harrods.com/content/the-store/news-events/2013/july/visit-harrods%E2%80%99-christmas-world-in-store-now!/

I think this is in order to take advantage of tourists who are in London for summer vacations and might not get another chance to shop there later in the year.

On a practical note for you Mike & others who get songs stuck in your head: we have discovered the antidote - sing to yourself silently The Canadian National Anthem. All Better Now.
(This is not a swipe at Canada; I live in Minnesota & we actually are a secret Province of Canada, don't-you-know.)

The last paragraph of the item about Tim Cook says it all:

"...the Market Directors were reportedly motivated by large potential holiday-quarter bonuses based on performance targets, adding to their $400,000 salaries."

I know, because my right-wing friends tell me so, that I'm a commie pinko, but much of what ails our society -- including the over commercialization of holidays -- is exemplified by that sentence.

You would think this would be an easy one to shut down. Have you met even one person who supports the idea of stores opening on Thanksgiving? There are certainly some who do support it - the ones in the lines - but I bet if you took them away from the store and asked them if they were willing to sacrifice Thanksgiving shopping for the sake of preserving the holiday most of them would at least claim to support preservation. It's only about getting some cheap crap *first*. As long as you can still be first the next day then who cares, right?

You'd think that with the power of facebook and other social media the backlash against this nonsense would have snowballed, allowing everybody to take the moral high ground on an issue that can't possibly actually hurt them.

But here we are... three days 'til Christmas!

Of course there's no Thanksgiving holiday here in England, but I've just looked up the local shopping centre's opening times over the Christmas season. The only day it is shut is Christmas day. On both the Boxing day and New Year's day public holidays it's open 9 am to 6 pm. As you say above, it destroys the holiday for shop workers. Note that these two days are after Christmas.

Over here "Zero Hours" employment contracts are common in retail. You are guaranteed no hours of work, and you do not have to come into work if asked to. However, if you don't, you may be punished by having no work at all for a couple of weeks. You may be asked to come in at short notice, destroying your plans for the weekend.

I can remember early closing days when I was a child. Shops closed at lunch time to allow the owners and any employees to do their own shopping and errands. The next town would have a different early closing day.

By law, only certain goods could be sold on a Sunday, so most shops were closed. Now with many shops open on Sunday, the small shopkeeper is at a disadvantage; if they open on a Sunday they never get a day off.

Compared to shopping in supermarkets and other large chains, shopping can be a social activity in towns. You speak directly to the workers in the shop, know other regulars and are part of the community. You communicate.

In a supermarket you can spend an hour walking round not speaking to anyone, (next time, look and see if you can spot anyone smiling) and barely talking with the poor bored soul that you don't know who operates the till. Now there are machines which take the place of a till operator; not only are they taking a job away from somebody, but you the customer are doing the work instead for nothing! The machines aren't even easy to use.

'Tis the season to be jolly.......

Sometimes I catch myself driving slow and think I'm the idiot...

My cousins are spending Thanksgiving in NYC with their Mum, a tradition they've adopted for 25 years now. Although we've lost a cousin and her family to Typhoon Haiyan's storm surge, we have a lot to thank for. It could have been much worse.

May I give thanks to the U.S. military who returned to Leyte Gulf. My in-laws evacuated Tacloban aboard a USAF C-130. The first airdrop of relief goods in my hometown in the hinterland of Leyte was made by a U.S. Marine Black Hawk. My mother who chose to stay behind with my father tells me that helicopters have been landing daily at the Jaro town plaza since.

As for Christmas, we'll celebrate when we get there.

Have you ever heard the "This American Life" story of the feuding Santa organizations? Best xmas story ever!
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/371/transcript

Hi Mike, on your Addendum in the Cold Light of Monday morning. I'd generally agree, but as you glossed over about outliers, often times the outliers are firmly in the "not good" category. Since you used the driving analogy, often times the people who are driving much slower than everyone else or much faster, being the outliers, are not driving in a safe manner.

They might still be in their comfort zone, but that doesn't mean they should either A) be on the road if they can't drive a little closer to "the norm" or B) should conform a little more.

I am not much of a comformist (believe you me!), but I also subscribe to the theory that there is such a thing as going too far from the norm in any direction in EVERYTHING in life. Religion, politics, food choices, parenting style, driving speed, sleep, what have you.

Be different in life...but not too different I think is my belief system.

Also, I too refuse to shop at any retailer that opens before 12:01am on Friday morning. It is a little too bad we can't make resonable labor laws that would prevent it from happening. I actually don't have the largest issue ever in being open all Thanksgiving day...for NORMAL hours. I have a bigger issue where it ends up the stores end up scheduling every single employee, because hey, we need all hands on deck, AND has them working at insane hours, which are not the traditional store hours.

Turkey day is as close to a religous holiday to me as is possible (as a devout angnostic), but it isn't making people work on Thanksgiving that bothers me, it is making people work odd hours and possibly "excessive" hours. That and making people work nearly back to back shifts (unless completely voluntary with zero chance of retribution, I don't think employees should be scheduled sooner than 12hrs after their last shift and not scheduled to work longer than 12hrs, no exceptions. I refer to retail in this case. Other jobs have necessary requirements year round that possibly differ from this).

Advertising in itself is not a problem, the problem is that it's now excesive to a point that it's even counterproductive. I personally stopped bying stuff from companies that think it's okay to create stuff which price is 90% based on advertising and 10% on R&D and manufacturing. I (partly) bought an Olympus because I wasn't subjected to Olympus TV add's the way Nikon and Canon are advertising for instance (that the OM-D rocks is in my humble opinion due to this verry fact). I don't buy Nike, Adidas, Puma, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Lays and what ever either. I usually shop for store brands (unless stores start to advertise their store brands, then I do my business elswhere). If I watch commercial TV I record and zapp over commercials. In the Netherlands TV commercials are excesive (IMHO) and the quality of the advertising has gone from excellent (early 1990) to obnoxious (lately).

And of course read Benjamin Barber's "Consumed" Mike, you'll love it.

Greets, Ed.

The driver's joke you attributed to Jerry Seinfeld was used by George Carlin years before Seinfeld ever thought of getting on stage.

Correction: the idiot/maniac drivers joke is NOT jerry seinfeld's. It is classic george carlin. Google it if you don't believe me.

[I think you're right...I made the change. Although it is the nature of jokes to be repeated by many people. --Mike]

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