Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Tiger of Thanksgiving

The plotting and the planning begins as yet another year of stampedes for the latest swanky gadget, the must-haves, and the Doorbusters (regardless of whether it is actually needed or not).  The ancient way of celebrating Thanksgiving has morphed into a sensational day of browsing through mountains of ads and figuring out a game plan with the members of the family who have come to share this supposed day of thanks.  A typical weekend goes like this:  Wednesday cooking, Thursday eating and planning, Friday shopping.  That it, if you even call Friday a shopping day… I would call it more of a hogging and dehumanizing day when people suddenly become primitive animals fighting for a low-demand resource.  Take any biology class and suddenly the relationship between humans and iPads becomes starkly similar to that of a tiger and the carcass of a zebra.

This year, it has been particularly interesting to watch the news as the day of doom approaches closer and closer.  Black Friday is now getting backlash (gasp!) as stores are now infringing on the day of eating and planning.  With stores opening as early as 8PM on Thursday, workers are now needed on the one day of the year that everyone is supposed to get off.  The worked are not really happy about that (after all, they also need to do some eating and planning, right?) and so they have threatened to strike.  Why strike?  Well it is so that if no one comes at work at 8PM then the stores cannot open at 8PM and corporations will back off on their idea to open at 8PM.  It is pretty simple and believable logic right?

Well, not so much.  Let us take an approach so that the shoppers are the tigers and the goods are the zebras and the corporations are some secret hunters that spear down those zebras.  If the tigers are really hungry for more zebra and the hunters are willing to send more dead zebras down, the workers that are threatening to strike are like the tigers that suffer from consciousness and are trying to prevent the hunters from sending more zebra by doing unpleasant things.  Perhaps they are doing a rain dance to prevent all the zebras from coming out into the open.  All of this to say, perhaps the problem exists amongst the tigers and not the tigers with relation to the other players of the ecological system.  Last year, we got a whole 24 hours to plot our attack of Black Friday and the corporations decided well maybe they only need 20 hours.  In fact, they are right; we don’t need 24 hours and we can more than manage our scheming with less time.  One of the great things about humans is that we so easily adapt to changing environments so the corporations at least got that right.  So there are four hours up for grabs and there is money at stake.  There are shoppers and therefore there is money.  Are you starting to see the same logic as the corporations are?  I am.  And what’s more, there are people who are willing to get 8.50 plus an extra 50% bonus to work those four hours; not all, but some.  And in this case, some is enough.

So you see, the problem of the destruction of Thanksgiving comes not from external sources like the zebras or the hunters.  It is all an internal struggle and very much a philosophical struggle between multiple humans and humans themselves.  If we are truly to bring back the spirit of the holiday and return to the olden days of simply giving thanks and not expecting any receiving gifts, then I fear it will take much more than a strike to realize this rather formidable goal.  To take the human out a tiger may be an easy task but to yank out the tiger out of the entire populace of human will take a far greater will.

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