“I can’t believe this.”

Her face belied her emotion.  The woman I met who worked at Macy’s expressed dismay over her schedule for the next two weeks.

“I wonder if all the stores in the mall are going along along with this.”

I shared my own experience with her.

“You know, I first started working in retail right after college.  And back then, even the big department stores closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.  Now, it’s like greed has taken over.”

“But the stores make tons of money Thanksgiving night, that’s why they are open.”

“So, where does it end?  Next will be Christmas.  It’s not always about how much more money you can make.”

It makes me feel sick to my stomach.  Money, money, money.  Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate our nation’s heritage, a day that isn’t allied with any particular faith or religion that everyone who lives here celebrates.  It’s our nation’s holiday to give thanks and be grateful for families, friendship, health, and sometimes just being alive.

And now capitalism has reared its ugly head to take that away.  I find it disgusting that it has now become the norm for malls and other stores to open on Thanksgiving night.  Yes, I know they will reap thousands of dollars in sales, but answer me this?  Wouldn’t those same people buy those things in the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas on another day?  Has corporate America really convinced themselves that people are spending extra money and they are reaping extra profits they wouldn’t otherwise get by being open on Thanksgiving?

My mother used to say something to me all the time as I became a young adult.

“No one ever gets old and lies on their death bed, saying they wished they’d worked more.  They always wish they’d spent more time with their families, done more fun things, traveled more.”

Amen to that.

There are a few companies in the face of this quest for greed that seem to get it.  For the third year in a row, REI is not only closing for Thanksgiving, but also for Black Friday.  As a co-op, it believes in taking the risk to not only do it for their employees but as a public relations strategy to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors during the long weekend when many visit family.  The hashtag, #optoutside, encourages members and customers instead enjoy the great outdoors, and to post photos of their outdoor adventures during Black Friday.

Maybe it’s because I’m not getting any younger, and every day means something to me.  I believe we all do better when we take time to enjoy a good meal with family, to linger over a sunset, to take an afternoon walk with Mom, Dad, and the dogs as frequently as possible.  More stuff is not the answer to creating more long-term happiness.

Say no to shopping during the day of thanks and support companies that have their priorities straight and allow their employees to enjoy a day of giving thanks.