Guilt and shame
Every year it’s the same.
TV reporters and columnists give us countless stories and articles on how Memorial Day is not about retail sales, shopping and home fix it projects. They focus on shaming us all for shopping and chasing bargains when we should be honoring Veterans who gave their lives for our freedom.
Why does shopping and honoring our fallen veterans have to be mutually exclusive?
Thanks, President Nixon, but it’s not enough
We really don’t have a choice, do we? We have 5 main holiday weekends, thanks to President Nixon, that are tacked to a weekend to give us a 3 day respite from work. He cheated us on one when he combined Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday into Presidents’ Day, but c’est la vie.
So, most of us have five 3-day weekend holidays, and a 2 week vacation.
Worse, many employers don’t allow their employees to take the full 2 weeks all at once.
Many have to split their time into two 1 week vacations or a variation thereof. Not much you can plan in one week… and not enough to feel you have truly had a much needed break.
Europe has the right idea
In Europe, most of the countries work forces have far more vacation time. They value family time and take long breaks for a better quality of life.
Here in the U.S., we supposedly have a better quality of life because of our high standard of living, but in reality, we squeeze family and leave-time into little pockets throughout the year. And typically we exhaust ourselves trying to cram too much into those little pockets because we have little choice.
As a result, we must take time that should otherwise be used to commemorate these holidays and have quality time with family to take care of those tasks that sit waiting because we have 55 hour workweeks and long commutes.
Those fix-it jobs throughout the house give us a pang of guilt every time we see them undone. Or the growing kids need clothes and shoes, or the sheets and towels are getting threadbare, or the furniture and appliances need updating or replacing… we are thrilled to have one extra day in a weekend to sink our teeth into those tasks and tougher shopping challenges if we can.
No Mea Culpa
Retailers are not at fault here for making Memorial Day Weekend and other holiday weekends a huge sale event.
Why wouldn’t they take advantage of the knowledge that shoppers will be doing home fix it jobs, taking care of necessary shopping, and utilizing this longer weekend to shop for big-ticket items that require more shopping time than your average items.
Leave retailers and shoppers alone
More choices and better bargains are what shoppers they want when they actually do have the time to shop.
Retailers are in business to make money as all business are. They must take advantage of the best selling opportunities to survive.
We do remember
We all do know what the true meaning of Memorial Day is. How can we not? I can’t think of anyone I know that doesn’t have a relative or friend that is not somehow affected by the death of a soldier who fought in one of our wars.
We do remember and we do memorialize them… but we still have to take care of our own lives, too. And as long as the vacation policies of the U.S. lag far behind the rest of the business world, these shopping weekend bonanzas will continue.
In conclusion, let me include the words of my state Senator, the Honorable Chip Rogers:
“Memorial Day reminds us of what it means to be American. This is a day to unite with our fellow citizens and collectively share our gratitude to those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
Let’s honor our fallen veterans and leave the shopping guilt and shame behind.
Please do pause at 3:00 PM est today to remember our fallen veterans…
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