Thanksgiving Rolled Under
Black Friday and Forwarding the Day

Satire by
Robert Wilfred Franson


November 2011

Thanks for a merry retailing / shopping season

Postcard art: Hearty Thanksgiving Greetings, 1930s As the Christmas shopping season is pushed earlier and earlier into the calendar, the pressure of the Christmas holiday sentiment and trappings against the Thanksgiving ones has become more marked, and more annoying. It is not so much that the holiday later in the year — Christmas Day on December 25th — impinges on the earlier — Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November — but that the intense retailing / shopping season has expanded so far. The more Christmas is boosted as the gift-giving event of the year, the more selling of merchandise, which from the public's side is the purchasing of gifts to give, becomes the defining activity of the lead-up time to Christmas. This mutual embrace of thin-margin retailers and bargain-hungry shoppers feels to each party to be so beneficial, that like happy drunks who want to hug everyone, the retailers and shoppers embrace a wider stretch of days as the years go by.

For a long time it looked as though "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving, was the obvious first and best shopping day of the Christmas season. Earlier than this, it was pointless and tasteless to push the retailing / shopping intensity. But the desires for retailers' profits and shoppers' bargains have pressed into Thanksgiving Day itself. Is this traditional American holiday doomed to become merely a big day for shopping, perhaps with some extra food at the mall's food court if there's time?

I hope not. But what is to be done?

The sound of shopping-frenzy creep

I believe the solution is simple: let the shopping roll forward, clean over Thanksgiving Day. The weekend before Thanksgiving would be a fine focus for shopping, since many Americans are out buying Thanksgiving Dinner supplies anyway. Adding a few shopping carts full of gifts and other stuff ought to fit right in.

Thanksgiving Day and the rest of Thanksgiving weekend still would be within the shopping season, but the intensity would have moved earlier in the calendar, saving Thanksgiving from becoming "the Shopping Holiday". The rough analogy here is to breaking the sound barrier. As one's airplane approaches the speed of sound in atmosphere, the vibrations intensify so enormously that the airplane can break apart. The solution is to continue accelerating to get the airplane out ahead of the sound, and safe. Once the roar of retailing is ahead of Thanksgiving, that holiday is preserved.

But, you may worry, will it really stop there? For long we assumed that Black Friday was the last ditch, so to speak, and it has been overleapt. What's to stop the shopping-frenzy creep from moving still earlier in the calendar year? Working forward through the calendar, backing further away from Christmas itself?

Why, nothing! Thanksgiving Rolled Under is just the beginning. We may now glimpse the true universality, indeed the timelessness of our solution. The shopping-frenzy creep will move earlier and earlier in the calendar, past July 4th, past Easter, rolling them under all the way to New Year's Day: January 1st. Yet like Thanksgiving, they'll pop up again behind, reborn as in the days of old.

The entire year will be a shopping year, like an Enterprise Zone that encompasses the entire nation. What could be better for buyers and sellers than to extend enthusiastic commerce throughout the land — or rather in this case, the year.

Christmas shopping

Yet there is a smidgen of calendar still under-shopped by our approach. We have come all the way around to hear the sound of Christmas bells by the back door. There is no reason why our shopping-frenzy creep may not move right up to the day after Christmas; and ultimately even — dare we say it? — right into Christmas Day itself. For that completes the circle of the year: what better day to do our next year's Christmas shopping than on Christmas Day?

Seize the day.


© 2011 Robert Wilfred Franson

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