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Did the pilgrims and Native Americans shop at Walmart?

November 24th, 2013

Ah, it’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about “no-shave November.” I began to partake in the festivities but I realized it wasn’t exactly ladylike for a 20-year-old girl to walk around looking like that caveman from those Geico commercials.  No wonder all those guys on campus were running in the opposite direction.

I’m talking about Thanksgiving 2013 – the year where Black Friday is an entire day sooner. Come with me as we peer into the lives of an all-American family. For the sake of this edition of Higl’s Squiggles, this family is entirely fictional – yet I’m willing to bet clones of this family inhabit a significant chunk of America  – or as we truly patriotic folks call our great nation, ‘Murica.

Let’s call this clan the “Smith family.” Momma Smith carries a steaming turkey to the table, beaming from ear to ear as Poppa Smith begins to carve the culinary masterpiece. Granny Smith is sitting on her rocking chair, clutching Baby Smith in her arms, wrapped in the blanket she crocheted. Grandpa Smith is pulling money out behind the little Smiths’ ears. Teenage Smiths brood in the corner, arms-crossed and “grumpy cat” faces on – complaining about the rough life of going to another family event where they are forced to socialize with the rest of the Smiths. Uncle Smith is cursing at the football game broadcasted on TV. Auntie Smith finishes adorning the banquet-style table with the remainder of the feast. The all-American Smith family in their matching argyle sweaters is as happy as a turkey on the day after Thanksgiving. They gather around the table, hand-in-hand and go around sharing what they’re thankful for. When it’s time for Granny Smith to speak, the clock strikes 5:45 p.m. Momma and Poppa Smith bolt out of the kitchen, grabbing their car keys and coats. Teenage Smiths hop into their friends’ cars. Aunt and Uncle Smith dart out of the house like the roof is on fire. This just leaves Grandpa and Granny Smith, with the little Smiths. They scratch their heads, wondering what all the excitement is about.

Welcome to “consumer America,” ladies and gentleman. The land where the one day set aside for thankfulness, family-bonding and turkey-coma-football-watching has been tainted by the fight over that mammoth-sized flat screen TV.

This Thanksgiving, materialistic Americans are prepping to body slam fellow customers for low prices at their local stores a day early, beginning at 6 p.m. (Serious question: Can you get two smiley face stickers from Walmart if you suffer injuries?)  Do you even have time to let your turkey digest? I usually need at least a good five plus a solid thirty-minute nap. Are we really willing to end the festivities early just to shop? I have a feeling we’re not in Plymouth Rock anymore.

So maybe I’m just preaching to the choir. You may be as disgusted as I am by this path to superficiality. You may be perturbed by the fact that people actually want to bail on the delicious assortment of pies that only come once a year. (I may be biased on this one. I make a pretty mean pie.) You may be puzzled why people want to skip out on a traditional family gathering. True, you may have that one annoying older brother who burps the alphabet every single year after the first course is over, or that cousin who forces everyone to play in a three-hour long tournament of Pictionary, Apples to Apples and Trivial Pursuit. Yet, quirky family members are no reason to put some soccer mom in a headlock at Walmart because she beat you to the last laptop. In fact, I look forward to the annual chaos that ensues.

But, maybe you’re not on board with this train of thought. Maybe you’ve already mapped out a top-secret master plan of how to buy everything on your long list. Maybe you need to reflect on where your priorities lie.

If I hit a nerve, I apologize. But hear me out. What’s more important: that man-made gaming system that will be outdated within a year, or your little old grandma who shoves cranberry sauce down your throat against your own will? Hey, if it weren’t for her, you wouldn’t be here.

Temptations to revel in materialistic pleasures and low prices may taunt you. However, just remember that at the end of the day, it’s okay to toss your television on the side of the road, but throwing out your family on trash day is not only socially unacceptable, but slightly insane. So, I leave you with two things to remember this Thanksgiving: family comes first, and eating that extra slice of pie is always the right decision.