Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 11, 2013

The Black Friday ‘creep’

CROSSVILLE — Now that Halloween is behind us, we can all get ready for the next major holiday — Christmas.

What's that? I'm forgetting something? Are you sure?

Oh, that's right. Thanksgiving is this month. I didn't see the turkeys in the store because I was distracted by the Christmas trees, lawn decorations and curiously large bows and I must have just forgotten about that day where we sit down and enjoy breaking bread with our family and friends.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but more and more, it seems like we're just going through the motions. Families barely have time to say grace, go around the room stating one thing every person is thankful for and dig in to the turkey and dressing before it's time to pack up and hit the stores.

Before, Christmas shopping season kicked off on Black Friday, at a somewhat reasonable hour of 5 a.m. I can recall being at the store in the pre-dawn hour hoping I'd score a TV. I did. That TV stayed with me for many years before I traded it in for a bigger model. It was a good buy and I more than got my money's worth.

I went one other time through the years, and I can't begin to recall what it was I was so sure I needed that I got up at some unmentionable hour to traipse around the Upper Cumberland in the cold, fighting crowds and wishing I was at home asleep or just spending some good downtime with my family.

I think the sales that year started at around 3 a.m. That was the beginning of the "creep." A few years ago, the "creep" made it all the way into Thanksgiving morning.

This year, you'll find many major retailers open all day long on Thanksgiving Day. They aren't closing down to prepare for the Black Friday madness. They'll have the specials and the doorbusters that are so attractive you'll pass on the cranberry sauce to try your luck at getting the latest gotta-have gadget.

And the last vestige of that day we sat aside to say thank you to our creator for all the things in our life that are wonderful and good.

Who is to blame for stealing our day of being thankful from us? Yes, I could point a finger at big corporate retail chains. But bless their hearts, they are what they are. If they were to open the doors wide one Thanksgiving and be met with no one, you can bet they wouldn't do it again the next year. They don't like paying employees to be at work if the cash registers aren't singing.

Nope, the blame lies squarely on our shoulders — all of us consumers. If we didn't go, they wouldn't be there.

Granted, I don't go shopping on Thanksgiving day, or Black Friday, if I can help it at all. I abhor the crowds and the pushing and there are very few things money can buy that I'm willing to get up and at 'em for at 3 a.m.

I'm reminded of working in a restaurant in college. The establishment, long since closed, was right down the street from one of the largest churches in town, and my place of employment was one of the first places they hit when the preacher turned them loose, ready to enjoy a Sunday meal and leave the dishes to us.

On more than one occasion, it was made clear that some of these church-faring folk didn't appreciate the fact that the employees had obviously been at work since before the services had begun. That meant they hadn't attended church. And that was bad.

"It's a shame they have these restaurants open on Sunday," I heard multiple times.

Let me get this off my chest, finally, after all these years. Folks, if it had not been profitable for that restaurant to be open on Sundays, it would not have been. If no one was there waiting for the doors to open at 7 a.m. for breakfast, or lined up out the door for lunch, then they wouldn't be open on Sunday. But it was. Because you were there.

Sure, it wasn't likely that you going home to a home cooked meal would have meant the place would have closed that one day a week. But if a lot of people had done so, it would have happened. Eventually.

The same goes for stores opening on holidays that many feel should be reserved for family time. If no one shows up, the trend might just get reversed. But judging by the packed parking lots I witnessed last year, I wouldn't be holding my breath.

But when we're standing in line on Thanksgiving day, loading up a bunch of toys and clothes, don't talk about how wrong it is that the employees are working on a day that should be set aside for family. They're only there because you are.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at


Text Only
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar