Archive for the ‘Social Norms’ Category

I Don’t Shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday

In fact, I don’t even shop on the weekend of Black Friday. Thanksgiving is spent with my family or my girlfriend’s family. The following weekend is spent with whoever we didn’t spend time with on Thanksgiving. Black Friday, I usually work (thankfully not retail anymore), but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother going to any Black Friday sales. It’s just too crowded and mobbed to be able to relax and look for what I want.

However, even if I had the time and inclination to shop during this time, I would not show up on Thanksgiving to go shopping. Frankly, it’s ridiculous to pull people away from their families to make an extra buck on one of the few holidays that was, until recently, considered off limits to corporate greed and encroachment. Because of this, I could not in good conscience show up to a Thanksgiving day sale since it’s not ok to support this kind of corporate behavior.

Wal-Mart’s Executive VP Duncan Mac Naughton had this gem to say when asked about employees working on Thanksgiving: “Wal-Mart associates are really excited to work that day, it’s a pretty high energy day for associates as well.” This is laughable because it’s either corporate doublespeak of the worst kind, or he is completely out of touch with the people who work for his company. Maybe both. I’ve never met anyone who wanted to work on Thanksgiving. These people may exist, but I do not expect they are the norm. When I worked retail, I didn’t want to. Fortunately for me, this was never an issue since most retailers in my state simply aren’t allowed to open on Thanksgiving, but this isn’t the case in most states. As for it being a high energy day, sure, it’s high energy, in the sense that it take a high amount of energy to make it through, and anyone working this day is going to be drained of energy by the end of it.

Because of this, I think I may even take this a step further, if possible. If I can put together a list of stores that did not open for Thanksgiving that I can complete all of my Christmas shopping through, then I will not do any Christmas shopping at any store that opened for Thanksgiving. That Christmas season that is such a big deal to them? Take it away so they know in the future, if they open on Thanksgiving, it will hurt them. I’d like to encourage others to do the same thing. And don’t just do it, but be sure to call and/or email corporate for the businesses pulling this and tell them why you’re doing it, so they know why they are losing your business this Christmas shopping season and how they can get it back next year. Be sure not to mention any specific location when you email or call into corporate, we don’t want individual stores taking the blame for bad corporate policy. Make sure there’s no way corporate for any of these companies can place the blame elsewhere, or they will.

Daily Kos has put together a quick (and likely incomplete) list of stores that will be open and closed on Thanksgiving. If you plan to avoid the stores opening on Thanksgiving for the Christmas shopping season, that list isn’t a bad place to start. That said, it won’t hurt to do your own research for additional stores, and to note some odd situations. For instance, Apple is on the list of stores closed for Thanksgiving, yet they do intend to have three Apple stores remain open. Why these three stores? No idea. But something to take into account depending on how much credit you want to give them for going most of the way, but not all the way.

In the end, is this something we can make a difference on? Who knows, but there’s only one way to find out. Tell people you know what is happening, why it’s important, and ask them to take a stand with you and anyone else who believes this is an issue. Flood the corporate headquarters of these stores with calls and emails letting them know if they want you to shop there during the Christmas season, they’d best start giving their workers this holiday, as it’s one of the few that is left for many workers these days.

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Protect Marriage in Maine

By allowing gays and lesbians to marry just like we allow any two other consenting adults to marry. Marriage, as defined in the law, is a secular institution and contract between two people who wish to share their lives with each other, and provides a slew of legal benefits you simply can’t easily get any other way. Some, such as tax benefits, can’t be received in any other manner. So, if we deny gays and lesbians the right to marry, we deny them the right to a beneficial contract that can enhance their lives in a way no other substitute contract can.

Most opponents of gay marriage laws present their case as protecting their religious freedom and religious institution of marriage. I have some bad news for these people. The government can not and does not regulate the religious institution of marriage, only the secular contract. Gays and lesbians already get married religiously, and there are plenty of religions perfectly happy to perform the ceremony for them. Besides which, while you have the freedom to practice your religion as you see fit (so long as you bring no harm to another), other people have this same religious freedom, including the freedom to allow gays to marry in their services. Furthermore, Maine’s gay marriage law doesn’t force churches to perform marriage ceremonies that go against their religious beliefs. A gay couple will instead simply find a church who supports their marriage, or they’ll be married by a justice of the peace.  No infringement of religious freedom is required to provide equal rights to gay couples.

So, to those who would deny the right to marry to gay couples, stop pretending you’re protecting marriage. You aren’t, you’re simply trying to enforce your view of religion on everyone else and deny a group their civil rights. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing this argument that the religious institution of marriage will fail if gays are allowed to marry, and I’m tired of hearing you treat religious marriage and secular marriage as the same thing, because they aren’t. They’re just currently tied a little too closely together in the law.

Stop trying to deny gay and lesbian couples their civil rights. Don’t force your religious beliefs onto others. Instead, learn to live peacefully with your neighbors, and accept them for who they are. We’ll all be better off if we can manage this. So vote no on question 1, and show the state of Maine and the United States that we support marriage, equality, and civil rights by allowing gays to marry.

Note: For reference, this is question 1 in Maine on November 3rd, 2009: “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”

Check out some videos on gay marriage in Maine:

Rachel Maddow
A cool WoW machinima piece on gay marriage in Maine
People’s reactions to letting gays and lesbians marry

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