Retailers Won’t Destroy Thanksgiving

by David Bier on November 17, 2011 · 1 comment

in Economy, Nanny State, Personal Liberty

Every holiday season features a slew of laughable articles denouncing the destruction of American tradition. Meghan Cox Gurdon’s piece in The Washington Examiner today is more of the same. She attacks Target, Wal-Mart, and other retailers (“co-evils,” she calls them) for their decision to open stores on Thanksgiving. She says, “Something beautiful is being smashed.” It’s a “breach of civic decency,” a “horrible stain over the Thanksgiving table.”

Why? Retailers aren’t invading homes or dumping products and advertisements on the turkey. Nor are customers being forced out of their homes at gunpoint. The knowledge that some store somewhere is operating won’t ruin my potatoes or make me trample grandma on my way to the door. Cox Gurdon claims, “If getting big bargains means rushing through Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s, you know it’ll happen.” Actually retailers don’t know that. Many families, if not most, will stay home this Thanksgiving as they always have. Retailers are taking the risk that they won’t.

Articles like this aren’t just rhetorical excesses. They underpin arguments against free-enterprise by supporting the myth that companies control consumers. In reality, the opposite is true: businesses must respond to their customers’ wants or they disappear. If enough consumers stay home this Thanksgiving, expect retailers to open later next year. In fact, the reason retail stores have remained closed for so long on Thanksgiving is so few people want to shop on holidays. Maybe this year will be different, but I say, let the people decide.

Robert Kirchoff November 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm

This Gurdon person certainly makes an odd argument:
“Stop giving people choices, they might make the wrong one! ”
So cynical, and presumptuous. As if Ms. Gurdon is the sole arbiter of what is right and proper for Americans to do one their days off. The bias towards inaction is also rather confusing.

Would Ms. Gurdon criticize Thanksgiving football as well? After all, isn’t yelling loudly at your TV in support of your color-coded team a crude, rambunctious distraction from the “holy secular calm” she holds so high? Suppose we should axe football then (never mind that this tradition has been associated with Thanksgiving for generations). After all, it’s wrong for all those players, coaches, referees, promoters, ticket-takers, scalpers, etc. to be working , and downright offensive that people might besmirch the holy church of tradition by actually attending one ofthoes events.

Suppose we should turn off TV stations too, wouldn’t want people sullying the calm by watching commercially-produced entertainment aimed at exploiting all of us stupid consumers that are too dumb to realize that our holiday spirit is just being manipulated. Perhaps turn off the power grid while we’re at it, so we can have the pleasure of eating by candlelight and huddling by the fire for warmth? Putrid commercialism never did anyone any good right, so off with it on this holiest of days!

It never ceases to amaze me just how attached to traditionalism the so-called “progressives” are.

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