From gratitude to gluttony (OPINION)

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dallas Hyland is a columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.

Walmart has announced that the infamous day known as “Black Friday” will officially commence on Thursday evening at 10 p.m.

According to the L.A. Times, the company will be joining Toys R Us and other such corporate retailers in an aim to add a few hours of shopping time to the already crazy day.

Far be it from me or anyone else to begrudge those who would seize the opportunity to score a few good deals on merchandise, but is this not reaching the point of absurdity?

Are we literally defining ourselves as a culture by how much we consume?

With the recent failure of the “Super Committee” we are once again glaring down the barrel of a continued recession with seemingly no end in sight. (Just a side note here, but should we even be surprised that when you hire those who made the mess to clean up the mess, they would almost fail by default because in order to clean the mess, they would first have to acknowledge making it?)

So what are we encouraged to do? What course of action do the largest retailers in America tell us to do? Buy more! Spend more! Come on everyone, let’s get this economy going by spending our way out of this problem and defying every ounce of economic common sense.

I almost want to go to Walmart at 10 p.m. Thursday and see who shows up. I want to witness those recently thankful people in the incipient stages of recovery from a tryptophan induced coma jockeying for position to buy the latest plastic gadget.

Now I bet right this instant someone is saying I am being a little harsh here. Perhaps a little judgmental. It is your right after all to pursue whatever makes you happy. You have a right to pursue the American dream.

My question then is when did the American dream become a right to a lifestyle? Maybe I am a little altruistic here but I thought the American dream was about having the opportunity to determine your own destiny not pack your house full of superfluous junk.

Writer Jim Stiles would call this growing at the speed of greed.

Furthermore does having the right make it right?

This is a very traditional time of year that is indigenous to us as Americans. We alone set aside this day calling it a day to give thanks. So what are we thankful for?

There is a saying about what overflows from the heart comes from the mouth. It implies that you can learn much about a person’s heart by the things they say. Would it be fair to imply that we can learn much about a person’s priorities by where they spend their money? On a day that is by proclamation and definition a day to give thanks, we have allowed a group of corporate conglomerates to condition us to make an otherwise improbable correlation between gratitude and gluttony.

These are some things to ponder for sure but I want to end this week’s piece on a positive note: While I have made some observations about what could aptly be described as society at its apathetic worst, I am not blind to that which is good.

A neighbor of mine and his wife are a retired couple who, upon having no real plans for the holiday, called me and asked me if I knew of any place where they could serve. Serve food, clean dishes, provide some fellowship of heart to those who may not have anywhere to go or anyone to go with.

Now that’s gratitude in action. If I do happen to get down to Walmart to witness the mayhem, I doubt I will see old Frank there. He’ll be walking the talk.

From myself and my own St. George, Happy Thanksgiving. Take care of each other.

See you out there.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy


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  • Jade (JD) LeBlanc November 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    We could encourage others to boycott these stores, not only on Black Friday, but always. Unfortunately, the stores provide bribes, in the form of discounts, which many just cannot turn down.

    Those of us fortunate enough not to need to succumb to this temptation can at least, as the author and his neighbor suggest, provide a compassionate service on this appropriately-named day.

    We can also write a letter of protest, since this seems to be the Year of the Protest, to let these retailers know how we feel and what we’re prepared to do about it. There is strength in numbers and since business is a numbers game, perhaps they’ll listen to the mob this time.

  • summer November 23, 2011 at 10:12 am

    not only does walmart provide jobs and paychecks for citizens,they have stayed stong through this hard time.with walmart staying strong means those people that work for walmart keep there jobs and dont have a fear of getting laid off or the business friday is a time of year when people can buy stuff they normally couldnt does not FORCE someone to buy there items,its a choice a person makes.maybe u shouldnt judge the place but maybe the people that make the choice to break the bank when they cant afford too.or maybe u should just worry about yourself and not the decisions of the customers.

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