Leaning against my register, I watched customers scurry throughout the store violently tossing items into their shopping carts. As their carts filled with useless products, I was filled with disgust.
I became accustomed to having to work on holidays and didn’t think there was reason to complain when I was making time and a half, but this Fourth of July, I realized how amiss it was for me to be working a meaningless cashier job on one of the most important days of the year for our country.
I never thought twice about giving up my holiday because I was distracted by the thought of a bigger paycheck. I was disappointed that I had allowed myself to fall into the materialistic abyss consuming America. On a larger scale, I was disappointed in America.
Holidays are becoming less remarkable as materialism once again gets in the way. As days of the year put aside for celebration with loved ones, we disrespect the true meaning of holidays when we ditch the festivities to do last minute grocery shopping or to hunt for deals often associated with these special occasions.
Instead of allotting holiday time for family matters, many of us waste our time shopping, when stores shouldn’t be open in the first place. Workers are forced to come in on these days and nobody should have to give up a holiday to work.
Throughout the years, every time I’d announce that I was scheduled to work on a holiday, my parents would make the same sentimental comment every time about how when they were young, stores were never open on holidays. I would just roll my eyes, annoyed by the repetition of their words, but I now realize how ridiculous it is to keep places open. It should be national law to keep stores closed on holidays to respect the meaning of the holiday itself and to also respect the workers that are typically stuck working away from their loved ones.
They had the right idea in my parents’ era. Now, we whine and moan if a store isn’t open on a holiday. We expect every grocery store and clothing store to open for at least a part of the day and even worse, we hope they give us good holiday deals.
Thanksgiving is cut short as we head out to do some Black Friday shopping. Most people don’t even know what Memorial Day is; all they know is it is accompanied by great deals. Most recently, we were all looking out for those good old Fourth of July sales. The meaning behind these holidays is constantly undermined by our obsession with acquiring new possessions. We should spend our Thanksgivings eating good food with good family and friends and not crowding into the local mall packed like sardines to save a few bucks. We should spend our Memorial Day honoring those who died serving for us and not use the weekend as an excuse to fill our closets. And our Fourth of July should have been spent celebrating America’s independence; not celebrating the good deals we found.
We use any excuse we can to shop. Even if we choose not to celebrate or don’t believe in a certain holiday, it’s not fair to expect workers who do enjoy that particular holiday to spend their time working. Although we need certain types of workers like doctors to give up their holidays, grocery stores, restaurants, clothing stores and other department stores should all close on holidays and deals can be offered on other days of the year.
Let’s prioritize holidays how they used to be instead of prioritizing the deals associated with them. These special days only come once a year, while deals pop up time and again. In addition to giving meaning back to holidays, we need to give the holiday back to the worker. Keep holidays special; stay in for the day.