If values exist within the consumerism, than they are dictated by the consumer, not the producer, and not the seller. Thanksgiving was traditionally an economically unprofitable day to open many businesses, with exception to hotels, some restaurants, and a few other entertainment enterprises. Thanksgiving is now a day where many businesses are open because peoples’ values have gradually changed. Just within the last five years, many retail businesses have decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving, and Macy’s is one of the most recent retailers to make that decision.
Consumerism has always had trends or values. Most restaurants and retailers close after 10PM because most buyers choose to go to bed at night, rather than to consume during the late hours. The few restaurants that stay open appeal to a small niche, because demand, although small, still does exist. Likewise, some industries have always been open on Thanksgiving, but because demand was always much smaller, the number of open retailers on the holiday itself was limited. Nowadays, the demand for consumer goods has increased on Thanksgiving Day, which has propelled many retailers to open one day earlier.
Transitional periods are always particularly sensitive because not everyone agrees with any given transition. For example, even though demand has pushed Macys to open on Thanksgiving, not everyone will agree with the decision to open on Thanksgiving. Many, who had the day off last year, will be disappointed to work this year. I, personally, have been subject to this change in my life when I was asked to work on Thanksgiving a few years ago, and so I am particularly sensitive on the matter. Although many consumers enjoy having the access to goods and services on holidays, most workers are not happy to work during these times.
Some holidays are still economically unprofitable for many businesses. Toy shops are mostly closed on Christmas Morning, because arbitrary values suggest that adults should have already bought presents for children, who will be upset at receiving presents late. My guess is that toy shops will be closed on Christmas Morning for a long time, or at least until that value changes.
Thanksgiving, traditionally, is a time to celebrate with family however you choose to define it. For the better, and for the worse, the definition of family in America has evolved in the last few generations. Likewise, the tradition of Thanksgiving in some ways has evolved laterally, and in other ways has weakened (from my point of view). However, as a person who loves the holiday, I am saddened to have had the choice between working on Thanksgiving, and losing my job. I understand that our values dictate that some jobs must be performed on Thanksgiving, such as Police, Fire, Hospitals, Hotels, etc. However, retailers, which are considered non-essential, are open because consumers make it profitable to open during the holiday.
As someone who values having the day off on Thanksgiving, I encourage those to wait one day to do their non-essential shopping in order to limit demand so that that those who want to celebrate Thanksgiving can do so.
Brian King, Mesa, AZ