Everyone deserves annual Everyone’s Day

So here it is the Friday before the Friday after. One week from now the shopping masses will once again be collapsing under the weight of a full Black Friday of shopping. You know, that’s the day after Thanksgiving where everyone starts, continues or finishes their Christmas shopping. The shopping has to be done that day because, after all, in the classic line to justify all shopping, “it was on sale.”

But wait a minute, already something looks different this year. Once Black Friday shopping got to be such a big cult-like event, everything started early Friday morning. And by early it meant 8 a.m. or even an outlandish 6 a.m. Within the past few years it has been midnight — the minute Thanksgiving was officially over, the Christmas sales began.

But have you seen the big store ads for this year? Most are starting in the evening of Thanksgiving, around 6 or 8 p.m. or so. When I noticed this, I couldn’t help but think of the group of people this affects other than the shoppers — the people who have to work there to help the people shopping.

Slowly but surely Thanksgiving is joining other holidays that aren’t holidays for at least half the working people out there. Retailers will push away from the turkey and trimmings table to head to the store to start getting ready for the masses.

So that has me wondering. How close could we come to having just one day a year where almost everyone gets to have a holiday? And what day would it be? I know there are some professions that can’t take a minute off. Health care, safety and security, power providers, Starbucks workers — you know, the essentials. But let’s pick a day where the stores are all closed, the gas stations, the fast food joints, the high-brow eating establishments. You know, everybody. If we all get enough advance notice, we’ll just have to plan well enough to have milk in the fridge, gas in the car or movies rented.

So when would the day be? Do we stay within the current framework of holidays, or will a new one have to be invented? Christmas is probably as close as we currently get to a day off for most. But before we get a total shutdown on Christmas, there will probably be some pushback on the fact it is a religious-based holiday.

New Year’s Day is a possibility. But if we keep observing New Year’s Eve the way we do, then maybe not having a drug store or comfort food distributor open the next day wouldn’t work too well.

You could probably come up with reasons to have each current holiday spared from the concept of a total shutdown. So I think we just need to invent a new holiday. Call it Everyone’s Day, because all but the very essential of job functions will be shut down for one day and one day only. TV stations are put on auto pilot. Athletes won’t be able to perform for our entertainment and thus concessionaires and others involved in staging such events would have the day off, too. It would truly be a holiday for all.

More than 50 years ago there were quite a few rehearsals for just such a total shutdown day. They were called Sunday. At least many of the retail-type outlets we now are so accustomed to being able to shop at seven days a week were at one time dark on Sunday.

I’m OK with it not being that way anymore on weekends, but let’s just have one day. There will still be 364 other ones to produce all the commerce we need. But for one serene day, we slow down and enjoy those around us.

Think of that next Thursday as you plot your plan of action to hit as many door-busters as you possibly can in the early hours presented to you by your favorite store. Notice the weary workers who are there to greet you. Treat them nicely as you know deep inside they would rather be somewhere celebrating Everyone’s Day.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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