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The Salmon on Turkey Day: A Guide to Swimming Upstream against Greed and the Corporate Mandate

Every year, the same thing happens. Retailers offer big discounts, they steal time from their employees and their customers with stores that open too early, and some of those customers die (10 in 2017) or get injured (111 in 2017). Let’s work to change that, again.

When box stores and big retailers first announced they would open on Thanksgiving to dole out the hot deals of Black Friday early, there was a public outcry that got some of the retailers to change their minds. The problem is that public outcry can only happen so often and so long before people tire of crying. There are only so many tears one can shed and so much energy one can spend fighting the tireless, emotionless machine called “business” whose sole reason for being is profit. Even salmon, who are among the most energy efficient creatures on Earth, die after swimming upstream.

In 2018, we’re back again. Corporate stores are open all day, at 5pm or at some other time on Thursday – Thanksgiving Day. If you do not work at one of these stores, you have the option of staying at home with your family, enjoying turkey, football, and whatever other traditions you have. The employees for these stores aren’t so lucky. Not only are they not going to be able to take advantage of the deals offered, but they also won’t be able to spend the time eating amazing foods and enjoying their holiday with friends or family. Will the CEOs and Board of Directors be working alongside their employees or will they be at home?

You have a choice, and your choices have the power to change things. If no one shows up on Thanksgiving, the stores will stop opening. Don’t go to the store, and if you want to drive the point home, don’t buy anything from those stores this holiday season. Instead, spend your money, if you have to, on gifts that will help your local economy or help make the world a better place. Locally owned stores do more with your money that helps produce a vibrant and strong local economy. If you want where you live to continue to grow in times of economic downturn, you need to go to those stores now. When they are more profitable, chances are, you’ll benefit, too.

Give a gift that you made yourself or get something handmade by an artists or artisan near you. Local craft and holiday fairs allow you to meet the people that make the items, and you’ll get something different than what most people will be buying this year. Your spending helps a crafter do more of what he or she loves.

Of course, the best gift you can give someone is your time. Spending your time with the people you love and forgetting the gifts altogether may just be the key to making the season bright, instead of falling into the blackness of a Friday where people are often killed and injured in the name of the almighty dollar and a “good” deal. Unlike the salmon, swimming upstream on this day won’t kill you but going with the flow could.

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