Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Backseat Beauties - Thanksgiving week 2013

Hint for your next Thanksgiving: Riley, the one in the middle above, cut fancy shapes in a variety of fruits and skewered them, along with red grapes, for a light & delicious holiday dessert.

The Thanksgiving Food-shopping Train

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Regular readers of Mosaic Moments will recall my rant from last year about Black Friday. This year it's worse, the only applicable term, Black Thursday. How certain members of the general public, as well as retailers, can so demean a holiday meant for remembering the founding of our nation and for giving thanks for the blessings in our lives is beyond my comprehension.

We sat down Thursday evening, fourteen at table, only three adults and three children with any measure of English ancestry (the place of origin of our Founding Fathers). But all gave thanks, and not one was planning on shopping in the next thirty-six hours. (And, no, I didn't bring up the subject - some of the men did.)

Having already expressed myself strongly on the subject of overeager shoppers and retailers encroaching on a precious national holiday for absolutely no reason as the goods will be there waiting at bargain rates just as well at 9:00 a.m. on Friday as they are at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving. (Or 8:00 A.M. on Thanksgiving, as some stores offered this year!) The whole concept is absurd, a big put-on, mostly by big-box stores, designed by corporate executives with no soul, only greedy eyes on ways to tease the public away from family, friends, and tradition (whether turkey, football, or good old-fashioned conversation). It's wrong, it's mostly fake, and it appalls me to see people falling for the hype. But this morning's Orlando Sentinel featured an editorial more acerbic than anything I could come up with. The following excerpts are from a contribution by Jack A. Chambless, a professor of economics at Valencia College (Orlando) and a senior fellow with the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee. [I have put all direct quotes from the professor in blue.]

Prof. Chambless begins his article by detailing the leisurely and pleasant activities he enjoyed last year on the day after Thanksgiving. He goes on to say:

What I did not do was join the total insanity that is called "Black Friday." Let me be clear ...

Living in American where people would just as soon shoot a gun or their middle finger at you on a normal day, is just about the last place in the world you want to be when Wal-Mart is having a sale on DVD players.

I saw on the news last year where a parent got arrested for leaving his infant in the car while he joined in the trampling and steep discounts at an electronics store. I saw other broadcasts showing hundreds of people storming into stores like the running of the bulls. In this case, it was the running of the credit cards.

Assuming there were very few atheists, Muslims, or Jews mingled in with the herds of shoppers, it would be safe to assume most of these folks were stomping on each other, kicking and screaming in preparation for the celebration of Jesus' birth.

How painfully ironic, isn't it? The man who taught the world about modesty, giving, love and sacrifice now has to watch as Americans all over the place try to kill one another in order to save 22 percent on a doll dressed like a prostitute.

One horrible thing about Black Friday is that it gives people who hate capitalism (see Obama voters) some legitimacy to say, "See, these dirty, profit-grabbing, selfish, rich businesspeople are making their workers come into work on Thanksgiving and forcing people to leave their cranberry sauce early in order to fight like animals in the African plains to save money on Chinese pajamas."

Do they have a point?

 Prof. Chambless goes on to mention Say's Law – which states "supply creates demand." Which, in short, seems to put the blame on the "big box" executives whose attitude is:

So they open at 8 p.m., their $8-per hour workers leave their Thanksgiving dinner early, or eat it earlier, and customers (not me) prepare to stampede one another four hours earlier than last year. If it is a success, next year it will be 11 a.m. Twenty years from now, Black Friday will be a week before Halloween.  (Grace note: to me this would be a lot better than encroaching on Thanksgiving.)

The professor adds, clearly in an effort to be less biased, that certainly the stores have a right to open whenever they want, and workers don't have to stay with these stores - they could get a job elsewhere. (Grace note:  In this economy??) He also suggests customers have a responsibility to rise up and shout, "Enough!" But if they really love shopping more than eating, so be it. "Freedom, remember?" will never see me partake in this awful illustration of capitalism at its best/worst. I will be at home, relaxing and shaking my head at the maniac I saw on YouTube hitting someone with a chair in order to get the next kid's toy that he will give to celebrate Jesus' birthday.

And thank you, Professor Chambless, for joining my voice in the wilderness. What did I do on Black Friday? I wrote what I hope will be a zinger of a wedding scene for Sorcerer's Bride, Book 2 of my Futuristic Paranormal series, Blue Moon Rising. I filled one dishwasher load after pretty much totaling my pots and pans for my contribution to the previous day's Feast. I worked on this blog. I played a game and did some puzzles from the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar. It is now 4:30 p.m., and I'm still in my robe. In between chores I rested and read Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd. An absolutely lovely day. I hope your day went as well. My advice:  Shop online, shop catalogs, shop small boutique businesses. Ignore the soulless big boxes. That's the only way this madness is going to stop.
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Thanks for stopping by,


Next week: Spain & Portugal, Part 4

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