WalMart will open at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday night along with Toys R Us, Sears and a few other retailers. Forgive me…but what turkey thought this was a good idea??? The gravy won’t have congealed and the dishwasher will still be running when the doors open and people rush in, clutching coupons and a Christmas list full of things that will be regifted by their friends and families. Sure, a hand mixer for $3.88 is a great deal. But news flash, when the original price was just $14.88 it probably isn’t going to work on a double batch of chocolate chip cookies anyway! I googled the WalMart Black Friday ad. It looks good. The Candyland Game is only going to cost $3.88 on Black Friday. I used to sell it for $4.99 back in 1979. I admit…it is a deal. But do you remember playing Candyland? (In case you don’t…it isn’t that fun!) You can get a “Big Joe Bean Bag Chair” for $24.88. It appears to have a drink holder on the side of it – I’ll withhold any further comment on that one. One of their “Door Crasher” deals is the Monster High Classroom Doll for $10.00. Do you remember the videos from last year? Some people take that whole “Door Crasher” idea literally! Is a Monster High Classroom Doll worth a trip to the ER on Thanksgiving night? Make sure you grab the Dearfoams Clog Slippers for $6.00 before they load you in the ambulance. You will be wearing those to all your Christmas parties because your broken foot won’t be comfortable in anything else. What do you need so badly for Christmas that requires you to give up your day of Thanksgiving? Let me answer that – NOTHING!!!!
What about the people who will have to work the registers and sack all of the purchases? What about the people who will have to clean up the aisles after the Door Crashers have come and gone? Those moms and dads deserved to be home, eating pumpkin pie and watching the football game with their families. Their kids deserved a storytime before they were tucked in for the night. Those grandmas and grandpas deserved some rest instead of having to take their lives in their hands and shout, “Welcome WalMart shoppers!” I understand the effort to strengthen the economy…but should we do so at the expense of our families? I know Thanksgiving can be a lonely time for some people whose families are far away. But are they really going to feel better if they go out and shop or have to spend the evening at work? Wouldn’t they have been better off if someone extended them an invitation for the holiday?
I’m staging my own personal retail protest. I won’t shop on Thanksgiving and I will probably stay home on Black Friday as well. I have a reputation for my clearance shopping. I lead a workshop at retreats titled, “The Coupon Queen of the Clearance Sale.” (The point of that workshop is to teach how to live well within your means and not with debt.) I’m all for looking for the deals and getting the most for your money. But not on Thanksgiving Day! There is a bigger issue at stake that day than the family budget.
Moses was standing on the edge of the Promised Land, preparing the people for all they would encounter. They were going to cross over the Jordan River but he wouldn’t be going with them. Moses had just reminded them of the Ten Commandments, the Law that would keep them in a right relationship with God. He said, “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live” (Deuteronomy 6:1-2). Later Moses told them to be careful to “impress” those Commandments on their children. I would echo those words today.
Thanksgiving Day will be a great day to “impress” your children with what matters most. I hope that when the retail craziness begins on Thanksgiving evening that most people will choose to stay home, counting their blessings instead of their coupons. Our kids will learn what matters most, not by what we say, but by what we choose to do. Go ahead and pay full price for that Candyland game and play it with your young kids or grandkids Thanksgiving night. That will just cost you a few more dollars, and it actually is a pretty fun game! Or sit and watch a football game just because those teens want to. When they go to bed that night, they will know they were your priority.
“Choose this day whom you will serve, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Amen?