Admit it – We’ve All Wanted to Escape From Our Family on Thanksgiving

Andthg_37 now for something to make me really unpopular . . . I’m going to confess that I don’t get what all the fuss is about regarding having to work on Thanksgiving. Right now, all of my social media newsfeeds are flush with what I’m going to call the “No Work Thanksgiving” movement.

Based on the fervent “likes”, “shares,” and “retweets” one would think working on Thanksgiving is a major societal problem of the 21st century. The thing that really makes me laugh is the sanctimonious chatter about how working on Thanksgiving is “robbing people of family time.” Yeah, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. And in the spirit of full disclosure I’ve worked many Thanksgivings and LOVED it! Like skipping out of the house, loving it. (I also loved the money because I really needed the money.)

Before you think I’m anti family (or anti my family) let’s examine the holiday. It’s not even a religious occasion. I would understand this level of outrage if, indeed, it was a holy day. But it’s a Federal holiday that came about in 1863, when, President Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in the month of November as a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Okay, I will now concede that sounds religious, but really, how many people go to church on Thanksgiving?

And if you’re going to be angry about a holiday that’s gone full retail where’s the Fourth of July fury? That’s a huge day in American history, but no one cares that Victoria’s Secret dares to cheapen the birthday of this great country of ours with a “Let Freedom Ring” three thongs and a cheekster for $13 sale.

It’s also a day that requires hours of hard culinary labor. Anyone who says they don’t believe people should have to work on Thanksgiving must never have hosted the holiday at their home. Sure, the reward of toiling in the kitchen is grand and glorious. You, for doing all the pre meal prep, cooking and cleaning, get the thank you gift of gazing upon the wonder that is your Uncle T.J. stuffing his face at the speed of light so he resume his prone position on the couch to watch football.

As for the whole “robbing people of family time” argument let’s be honest here. Most of us don’t have fairy tale families where our Thanksgiving is 24-hour extended kin group hug. For a lot of us, a whole day consumed with a cornucopia of relatives, in a confined space, with no chance of escape, is akin to tip toeing barefoot through the hot coals of hell. Add in second cousins, who have been drinking alcohol since 10 a.m. and you have me volunteering to work every holiday. In fact, many times as I have been bolting for the door to get to work my husband has begged, “Please, please, take me with you.”

The “No Work Thanksgiving” moment doesn’t just focus its ire on the merchants that chose to be open on Turkey Day there’s also a heaping helping of disgust for folks who dare to shop on mashed potatoes with gravy Thursday. Lots of time is spent on social media dissing people camped outside a Best Buy to get a “bitching deal” on a TV that’s bigger than most people’s first homes.

Here’s my take on that. If you have a family member (or members) that has chosen standing outside a Best Buy instead of gracing your table for Thanksgiving you should be rejoicing, like Hallelujah chorus rejoicing, because you’ve been saved for spending an entire day with this level of nitwit. In fact, I would go so far as saying you need to write a thank you note to Best Buy for their awesome system of herding and corralling humans that don’t need to be free ranging it on Thanksgiving. It’s like having a babysitter for the ickier part of your family tree.

(Now, just to be fair, I must also defend the Best Buy campers. I’ve been told by some that they have a “great time waiting in line” and that it “beats the hell out of spending the day with family.”)

As for the folks that hit the malls and Target Thanksgiving evening all I have to say is you go girls (and men being forced against their will to Kohl’s for their fleece sale). Two years ago, I interviewed a group of woman, four sisters-in-laws, who were having a blast Target on Thanksgiving night. They didn’t really care about the shopping. For them it was all about taking a break from a surly mother-in-law and husbands who needed to up their game on the kid watching duty. Technically, they were family members spending time together. They just weren’t doing it at a table while passing Great Grandma Eunice’s sweet potato, cornflake, and marshmallow fluff casserole.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

Black Friday Part 1

Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 10.01.57 AMIt was time to lose my Black Friday virginity. I had heard about this mega shopping day for years, but had always been saving myself for Cyber Monday. Like any big milestone in your life this one required a fetching outfit. I was torn between going “cute and comfortable” or “battlefield ready.” After much research battlefield ready won out. I put on the new pair of Target track pants I had just treated myself to, a long sleeve Nike outlet top, my “dress” tennis shoes and  yanked my hair back into a no-nonsense pony tail.

The piece de la resistance of this ensemble was a fanny pack.  What’s that you say – a freaking fanny pack? Well, to be specific it was more of a tummy pack since I wore it facing forward and before you go all Fashion Police on me please note that my diligent research pointed out that I could get trampled, assaulted and/or robbed. I figured my battlefield ready outfit needed to be hands free. I didn’t want to worry about a purse sliding off my shoulder or worse a deranged shopper, hopped up on their 10th Starbucks full caf – mocha something or other, strangling me with my handbag straps. Besides, I’m a confident, middle-aged woman who knows how to work a fanny pack. Some would call it a skill. I call it a gift.

After getting dressed I did a few deep knee bends and practiced some self-defense moves I learned 3 years ago. I thought the eye gouge would be especially useful if I found myself in the crossfire of an X Box rampage. After that I reviewed my itinerary which wasn’t picked for the best deals, but to maximize my people watching. I wasn’t going to shop. I was going for a freak show and if I was sacrificing my much-needed beauty sleep and rejuvenating overnight triple Retina-A facial cream with miracle beads then by God this adventure better deliver freaks and them some.

Thanks to input from friends I left my house at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night and headed for Best Buy. My goal was to check out the line and chat up a few of the folks that abandoned turkey and mashed potatoes for the privilege of being one of the first to walk into the hallowed electronic halls of Best Buy. This is where I learned a very valuable lesson. Approach the front of any Black Friday line with extreme caution. The people who have been camped out in line for more than 24 hours are suffering from some sort of battle fatigue psychotic paranoia. When they see you walking towards them they immediately think you are trying to cut in line and they can and will harm you.

I just wanted to ask these discount die hards a few questions but as I got closer to them they started shouting, “Go to the back of the line!” or my favorite, “Get your F’ing ass to the F’ing back of the F’ing line.” At first I was scared and then I thought I was probably safe from any kind of beat down because no one would dare give up their place in line to punch me out. I stayed about four arms length away and yelled back, “I’m not here to shop. I’m a reporter doing a story on Black Friday. I write for the “I Saved More Money Than You!” website.  That calmed them down and they let me approach their clan of extreme bargain hunters. I walked up very slowly, like I was trying to pet a feral cat, to make sure everyone was okay with me getting near the front. One shopper asked for press I.D.  I quickly said, “I wish.  You think a website called “I Saved More Money Than You” is going to waste money on business cards.  Yeah, that’s a great big no.”  My response seemed to placate them and before they started googling my made up website I quickly began asking questions.

The first four people in line were all related. The Best Buy camp out was a family tradition. This year it was all about the TV bigger than your garage door. These fine folks in an attempt to save in the mid 3 figures on a T.V. were making the ultimate sacrifice in my book.  No, I’m not talking about missing out on a holiday dedicated to eating with unbridled passion, but using a 44 ounce Quick Trip cup as their bathroom. I got to witness this first hand. A 20 something woman in the clan relieved herself in my presence. Her aunt held up a blanket to give her some urinary privacy. Right about now  I’m thinking the cold may have affected the older woman’s spatial reasoning skills because the blanket was positioned in a way that only provided butt coverage. Huh? This chick was going number 1 not 2. I got an unobstructed view of the woman peeing and it was something to behold. That’s right – I watched. I couldn’t look away because this young woman was muy talented. If peeing in a cup was an artistic form of expression than she was Picasso. She barely lowered her pants yet managed to shove a 44 ounce cup into her tinkle zone and without assuming even the tiniest squat position she filled that cup with a fluid grace. She also was able to remove said cup without any discernible sign of spatter. Talk about precision peeing with zero splash zone. I was impressed and asked, “How did you learn to do that, so well?”

She said, “Lots of practice. You should have seen me at the I Phone 4S camp out.  I crapped in a cup and you could barely tell I was doing it.”  Now, I was feeling really uncomfortable, like I had crossed the line from TMI to CVS (Could Vomit Soon) and needed to leave the classy environs of Best Buy to head to my next destination.

I’m not lying when I tell you I was more than a little afraid of where I was going next. I was venturing into the belly of the beast and I didn’t know if I was woman enough to handle it. I have survived many treacherous moments in the my life up to and including; the infamous Kappa sorority rush party of 1987 where a stampede of wannabe Kappas hyped up on pixie sticks and shots of Coffee Mate Peppermint Mocha Creamer morphed into a concussion tornado, bested two women for the deluxe labor and delivery suite in the hospital while 7 cmm dilated and chaperoned 6th grade snow survival day where I was “accidently” buried alive in a snow cave and had to claw my way out. (No worries, I got those damn kids back. I told them we were being chased by a family of rabid bears.) I hoped those experiences had prepared me because Wal-Mart here I come.

Keep reading and check out Black Friday part 2, 3, and  4.

You know what’s a freaking good deal? My Snarky book series. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may cover_1-3-21I gently suggest you give it a try like right now. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. 🙂