When the Frozen Turkeys
Were in the Grocery Stores Not Waiting Outside Target


Leonard Zwelling

         I really do understand the American desire to get a great
deal. I also really understand how those less fortunate than myself would want
to take advantage of a brief period of lower prices on essentials like food and
clothing. But that’s not what I saw on the news on Thanksgiving afternoon.

         Instead what I saw were long lines of people outside Best
Buy and Target waiting to buy the latest televisions, video games and other
electronics. Where waiting in line to buy fresh fruits and vegetables might
make these people healthier, waiting in line to buy products to make them more
sedentary would definitely not. Many on line had waited overnight or over
several nights. They were there to conspicuously consume at reduced prices and
to do so had given up Thanksgiving with their families—unless the whole family
was in line with them.

         This is just wrong.

         It’s wrong because Thanksgiving is a uniquely American family-oriented
holiday that is a tradition we should cherish not sully.

         It’s wrong because of all the employees of these stores who
have to give up their time with their families to serve the needs of the
unquenchable American thirst for consumerism.

         But mostly it’s wrong because there is enough crass and
commercial about Christmas and crass, commercial, and made-up about Hanukkah that
clashes with my memory of holidays that used to be about carols, songs and
lights and now were about Black Friday (think of Christmas leading off with a
day named after a profit margin) and airport congestion. Can’t we save
Thanksgiving from the same fate? I guess not.

         So when America looks around and wonders what happened to
itself, it doesn’t have to blame 9/11 or Bush v. Gore or Watergate or Dealey
Plaza. It can just look at the lines circling Target to buy merchandise shipped
in from the China, Japan, and Korea on the day when we celebrate the fact that
all of us were immigrants once, many running from religious persecution, and it
was the natives who were here before any of us who saved us.

         Oh you forgot that part? I’m sure there’s an app for that! 

Leonard Zwelling