Family Practice: Thanks, but no thanksWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Between the Chik-Fil-A controversy, the Hostess debacle and Black Friday moving to Thursday I’ve about had it with capitalism this year. I now feel guilty for liking my favorite fast food chicken, don’t know who to blame for the death of the Twinkie and am disappointed that one of my favorite days of the year is being tarnished by its new time slot. For someone who doesn’t care much about things like business, money and marketing, they’re starting to take up way too much of my mind space and, more importantly, my Facebook newsfeed.
I’m not a fan of boycotts. I don’t mind people pulling their money away from people, places and things they don’t agree with or find major fault in. Hopefully, we all do it in some way, as personal preference and opinion are what make consumerism tick.
It bothers me, however, when groups of people tell me where I shouldn’t be spending my money. Maybe I’m just a rebel who doesn’t want a cause, but as soon as someone tells me I shouldn’t eat at Chik-Fil-A it kind of makes me want to eat at Chik-Fil-A. The rhetoric goes in as “you’re giving money to people who undermine civil rights” but processes in my brain as “mmm, chicken.” Ultimately, I doubt there are any companies out there that accurately reflect my personal belief system, so I’d rather just base our relationship on what I think of their products rather than their politics.
While boycotts seem like the grown up version of “I’m not going to be your friend anymore,” the demise of Hostess quickly turned into a case of they said/they said. Is it the workers fault? Is it the management’s fault? Did union demands kill the Ding Dong or did it die at the hands of corporate greed
After four years I still can’t seem to keep track of when my kids need more money on their school lunch cards, so I really shouldn’t spend too much of my time delving into the pay scale and corporate structure of Hostess Brands Inc. I don’t love the idea of strikes and think employees are as responsible as employers for helping to keep companies afloat. That being said, the large sums of money some CEOs make for steering corporate ships into a dismal abyss is disgusting at best. Frankly, why anyone would require or want millions of dollars per year to do even the best job ever is beyond my comprehension.
Having such vast amounts of money to your name would be like juggling several mistresses at once. Aside from it being morally questionable, it also has to be a big ol’ pain in the booty. New clothes and a nice dinner out once in awhile sound nice, but private jets and 10,000 square foot mansions for any member of the human race just doesn’t make sense to me.
Of course, Black Friday doesn’t make sense to many people either and I happen to love it. While some think it interferes with family tradition, it has become our family tradition. My sister and I usually spend the whole day together, including a priceless, once-a-year kidless lunch out with our parents
As with so much in this world, there can be too much of a good thing, however. After a few years of toying with the idea, post-Thanksgiving American tradition is starting to spill ruthlessly over into Thanksgiving Day. A few rogue companies that opted to open their doors on Thanksgivings past are now being joined by quite the onslaught of popular favorites like Walmart, Sears and Target.
Oh, Target, say it ain’t so!
As much as Black Friday is my one day off from parenting a year, Thanksgiving is one of the very few days a year where I get to just parent without all of the other external interferences. I love the idea of end-capping Thanksgiving with some good old-fashioned hunting and gathering for my family after a short almost-winter’s nap, but I don’t even like the idea of somehow making it a part of our Thanksgiving Day. Can’t we just get one day off from consumerism before we get our one big day of it on?
I’ve about had it with capitalism this year but, being a part of a capitalistic society, I’m sure capitalism is no where near done with me. Just as we are sometimes born into family traditions that don’t necessarily suit us, so are we born into ill-suited cultural traditions. We either accept the bad or change it as we see fit. We give thanks for the good. C’est la vie.
Shannon and her husband, Michael, are raising three children in Sylvania. Email her at email@example.com.