Article by Becca McLhinney | Photography by Faras Aamir | Owl Staff
Year after year, the meaning of the holiday season seems to get lost amongst the pushing and shoving of extreme holiday shoppers.
My family celebrates each Thanksgiving around the dining room table filled with Thanksgiving staples.
Instead of saying our thanks, my family usually discusses why we need to find a new iPhone or big screen TV the next day.
As early as November 1st, I can walk through my local mall and see crying children seated on Santa’s lap, hear the overplayed Christmas music, watch the puzzled boyfriend or husband searching for the perfect gift, and notice the blinding slew of bright garland and bows.
I am shocked that some stores are open on Thanksgiving Day, a day that should be spent with our families reflecting on our blessings.
This is especially hard for retail workers scheduled during the holidays and are unable to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families. It seems like everything is about making money and not about making memories. As a retail worker myself, the long hours that are forced upon us during this season are undesirable.
Working midnight shifts every night while still going to school in the morning is rough.
“At first, it was fun and exciting to work overnight, but I would never do it again. It really messes up your sleep schedule,” says Kelly Scott, a Kohl’s employee and Secondary Education major at HCC.
In addition to the long hours, many retail employees see things they’d rather not during this season.
Kaylee Herbert, an Elementary Education major, says, “There was a lady that came out of the fitting room without pants on!”
She adds, “There were crazy long lines, and I was being questioned a million times where the exact same merchandise was.”
Computer Science major Caleb Hutton says, “Black Friday door busters are madness: there’s longer lines than free ice cream day, and more people getting knocked out than a boxing match.”
Hutton adds, “It’s the only time of the year that violence and gift giving have a correlation.”
“I think some of them take it a little too seriously,” says HCC student, Jen Eline. She adds, “People are fighting each other over items they want and camping out from 7:00 pm the night before.”
Are consumers so greedy that they’re willing to fight to the death in order to get just the right item that they want? It sounds more like The Hunger Games than it does Christmas.
So, if you are brave enough to venture out during the season of giving, try to remember what the true meaning of the holidays are: kindness, compassion, and giving thanks.