Anti-Gray Thursday

I did not know it had a name, but Professor Google has made it clear. Stores open on Thanksgiving Day for sales are participating in “Gray Thursday.”  Let it be known this gal is against Gray Thursday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are enough, don’t you think?

There once was a day when I thought it was fun to venture out on Black Friday. It was at least twenty years ago before babies, back pain and common sense kicked in.

Once a negative term, Black Friday described a financial crisis in 1869. Years later, police officers used it to describe the traffic jams, overcrowded sidewalks and stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The day brought dread to officers, but not to merchants. They realized Black Friday was a big shopping day. In 1975, they began using the term as a marketing tool.

Every year since 2001, Black Friday held first place as the busiest shopping day of the year, except for 2003 (when the Saturday before Christmas jumped back to first place).

It was not enough. Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving offering special internet deals) became the #1 biggest spending day in 2010 boasting over one billion in sales. That’s right—billion.

Okay, I’m all for boosting the American economy. I like finding good deals and being a smart shopper. I admit taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales before. However, there is no gray area here.

You will not find me out shopping on Thanksgiving Day. The best deal of my Thanksgiving Day is being able to share it with family and friends. I will defend this day that has been set aside from work and the busy-ness of life. A day of spending—not money, but time with family and friends. A day of giving—not our charge cards, but our time to those who are lonely or meeting needs of those less fortunate. A day of thanking God for what He gives us, not for what the stores are offering.

There’s a guy in Canada who began a “Buy Nothing Day” back in 1992. His fans have Zombie Walks through stores, blankly staring and saying, “buy nothing, buy nothing.” Volunteers offer a credit card cut-up service. They hold Whirl-Marts encircling stores with empty shopping carts. That’s a bit extreme for me. I have better things to do than walk like a zombie pushing an empty shopping cart. (Sometimes I feel like that when I forget my shopping list but I don’t intentionally do it!)

However, I do like the idea of making Thanksgiving Day a “Buy Nothing Day.” Who’s with me?