Rupert Howell column 11-23-12

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 23, 2012

Surprising to learn who started this ‘Black Friday’ idea

It’s almost maddening. . . all the hype about “Black Friday.”

Please know that I’m not opposed to it. If you look at the number of inserted ads in today’s local print publication you’ll understand why. Those inserts are a great source of revenue for this newspaper.

But the Howell family, my branch anyway, chooses not to fight the crowds or stand in line the night of or the day after Thanksgiving in order to pay great prices for popular Christmas gift items. With exceptions made occasionally for football games, crowds and lines are avoided if at all possible.

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And the rule at this office is no Christmas decoration or music until after Thanksgiving. (Little respect is given to my Christmas rule.)

Wasn’t it just a few years ago that were saying, “Can you believe the stores have the Christmas items out before Thanksgiving?”

Now we go straight from Halloween haints to Christmas spirits with little regard for  Pilgrims and Indians that once owned the entire month of November in schools and nurseries without interruption from the obese, unshaven, northern cookie eater dressed in red.

Where did it start?

Some may think it’s just capitalism going through the process but a small item in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal noted that in 1912, “Worshippers in virtually every church in Memphis were asked by the pastors to do their Christmas shopping early and thereby give the store employees a chance for a little peace and good will on Christmas morning.”

Does this mean we can blame early shopping on the church?

So it seems that locally, at least, early shopping was encouraged by the church to give employees a chance to enjoy the Christmas holiday.

Good intentions, but 100 years later employees are now striking at big box stores because people are shopping so early its interfering with the previous holiday. Some are being asked to work on Thanksgiving when sales begin even earlier this year.

The CA article goes on to say, “Merchants have promised to put their holiday goods on display by Dec. 1 in order that the Christmas shoppers will not have any excuse for delaying their purchases.”

My, how times have changed.