My Mom asked me what time would be a good time to celebrate Thanksgiving and there was at least some acknowledgement that there is no good time for me. Unlike most of the country, I'll be working ten hour shifts the night before and the night of Thanksgiving.
That's right. From the time I get off Thursday morning, I have exactly 14 hours before I must return. Account for my commute, and that's 12 hours of free time. Account for sleep, it's only about 4, maybe 5, hours. And that's on a normal day.
Throw a Thanksgiving dinner in there --almost always when I should be sleeping-- and it becomes rather, um, inconvenient for me personally. My Mom offered to change the time we're supposed to eat, but it doesn't matter. If it doesn't start at 8AM and end by noon, it's going to be a hardship on me no matter how you cut it.
I mention this because we approach not just Thanksgiving, but also Black Friday, that ignoble time of year when retailers hoard their deep discounts and inventory overstocks, and then unleash them upon a gullible public eager to snap up "once-in-a-year" deals.
Now I personally won't be doing any Black Friday shopping. I'll probably be spending the day making up for all the sleep I missed on Thanksgiving, blissfully indifferent to all the deals other people are getting.
So I'm sympathetic to the people howling in rage that Wal-Mart and a lot of other big retailers are starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving. But I have to ask....what did you expect?
We have spent my entire life worshiping at the altar of unfettered capitalism. During that time, income inequality has expanded to absurd proportions, and often in absurd ways. (Example: How many profitable sports teams have gotten taxpayers to build their stadiums?)
Gone are the days when labor unions forced the wealthy to hoard less and share more. The only protection workers have now is to change jobs, which --let's be honest-- is a fine solution in an always-booming economy, but is drastically inadequate if your economy has, you know, a business cycle.
I've tried "changing jobs" at a time of high unemployment and very little net job creation, and let me tell you.....it's not just difficult. It's not even possible.
I have very little faith this will change anytime soon, or even in my lifetime. In a world where you can get a good deal on a TV any day of the year, no one would need to stampede the Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving Day. We do not live in that world.