"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." -- Oscar Wilde
If Oscar Wilde was correct, Americans have no limit to their imagination during the holiday season.
The National Retail Federation estimates that over 55 percent of all holiday shoppers intended to shop for Christmas gifts during the four day Thanksgiving weekend. With almost 75 million young people under the age of 18, the pressure is really on the oldsters to deliver the "goods." See table...
In too many households, gifts are charged to credit cards which can add double digit interest rates to the cost of purchases. This creates downward pressures on credit scores if cards get loaded up. According to AOL's DailyFinance, a pocket full of maxed out credit cards will devastate your credit score and the best credit score can only be maintained by limiting card usage to 30 percent of your available credit. This requires a tremendous amount of self discipline when faced with children from toddlers to teens who want the latest and greatest gizmo.
To burden the obvious, the holiday season has devolved into a manipulative profit driven machine that's designed to shame us into buying things for others that we can't afford and they don't need.
The herd syndrome associated with shopping on Black Friday adds an undeniable layer of stress and stupidity to our lives because we are surrounded by ads that tell us to buy, buy, buy at the same time other ads tell us to celebrate and relax.
The mixed message of Thanksgiving is so absurd that to many, Black Friday has become the annual practical joke that we play on ourselves. Each year, the pressure to buy earlier and buy more increases as big retailers choose to stay open on Thanksgiving Day.
Bloomberg View's columnist Barry Ritholtz called Black Friday a hoax and dubbed the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas as "Shopmas" in this article.
It's time to say "enough already." Enough of the manipulation. Instead of shortening Thanksgiving to a single rushed meal between the pressures of work and shopping, let's extend Thanksgiving to include two official national holidays.
Thursday will continue to be a day celebration and Friday will become the National Day of rest and relaxation. Then, start the crazed shopping on Saturday morning. NO, that doesn't translate to opening at midnight. Don't even think about it. Open the stores at 10 a.m. on Saturday MORNING. A full eight or nine hours of sleep will help everyone, thank you.
Obviously, law enforcement, fire fighters, essential medical professionals and other first responders have unique responsibilities that limit Thanksgiving celebrations, but by extending the "official" holiday to 48 hours, everyone will have a better opportunity to spend a full day with family and friends while being paid for both days which is an important adjunct of the plan. Most assuredly, waiting until Saturday to shop won't destroy the business model of any retailer, all their protestations notwithstanding.
If Saturday ever replaces Black Friday as the holiest of shopping days, some special name or acronym must be chosen that's befitting of it's status. Several names come to mind. Names like "Bargain Saturday," or "Bountiful Saturday" or, for the more jaded, SH*#%Y Saturday.
We could throw creativity to the wind and coin the day "Black Saturday" or just shorten it to "BS Day" because BS is the acronym most deserving of the activity.