Faulty Thinking

portrait-of-a-mandarin
                     “That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change.
                                      But that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.”

                                                                                                  Chinese proverb

   The fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s death, and the infringement on the Thanksgiving holiday by retail has me pondering. Yep, noodling, contemplating, and ruminating about life. Americans are busy shopping and have forgotten Kennedy’s words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.”

What is happening in America?

Why trash Thanksgiving? There are 363 other days to shop.

Black Friday, I selected two ornaments hung on a community Christmas tree requesting gifts for children. The child’s name, age, item requested, and instructions, were typed on the paper Christmas bulb. Michael, a seventeen year old, hopes to receive earphones and Timber, a sixteen, pants and a top. Children’s Home Society of Florida sponsors the gift giving event.

I drove to Old Navy and selected several items for Timber, however, the line looked to be two or three hours long so left. People had wagons full of clothing.

What is happening to America?

We are not keeping up with the Jones, we are stepping over the poor, to bash the entire family on their heads.

Nevertheless, polls show people are more dissatisfied and most believe the next generation’s future is bleak. Fifty percent of Americans say “No!” when asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

Regan raised the question debating Carter in 1980 and won the presidency. Consequently, politicians and media believe the inquiry is a barometer on how to get elected. Unfortunately, Romney shot himself in the foot asking the question. The advertisement showed a white, most likely stay at home Mom, polishing a granite counter top, with custom drapes hanging in the dining room. The woman looked “better off” to me and definitely “better off” than others are. Guess it depends on defining better off, and who is to blame if you are not.

I call this faulty thinking. The focus is on who is at fault, not fixing problems.

Republicans smile and point their finger at entitlements. Democrats respond, “The people are starving,” and Republicans counter; “Let them eat cake.”

However, there is another type of faulty thinking that also is of concern, attaching events to the wrong outcome.

The Health Care debacle is a recent example of this type of thinking. Obama is to blame for a program that will not work and fingers point at him as not trustworthy because he said, “Americans will be able to keep their health care.” There is no mention of congress and insurance company foul play, talk about trustworthy.

I am reminded of a ten-year old who thinks his parents divorced because he did not floss his teeth. It is true his parents fought about his flossing, but they fought about everything. They had no resolution skills and did not get along and then there were the affairs.

Regardless, the kid never did floss, and now an adult suing his dentist because he has gum disease. Rumor is he is running for office and needs the money.

. . . .just saying

Yes! jcp Values Customers

I received this  email letter as a jcp customer, and want to share the message. It is the response I was hoping for from retail.  Although I do not shop Black Friday I plan to this year at JC Penny’s

                                                                                               …just saying

Ron Johnson, CEO

Dear valued customer,

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, we’re going to kick off the holiday shopping season with
the most exciting Black Friday in our history. And yes, we’re going to
start our Black Friday–on Friday.

I know that some retailers are opening on Thanksgiving this year. But
spending Thanksgiving with family is one of America’s greatest
traditions. Since jcp was founded on the Golden Rule, I’m proud to
honor this tradition by keeping our stores closed on this special day.

I hope our customers and employees all enjoy a wonderful holiday with
loved ones.

And when we open at 6:00am the following day, we’ll be honoring
another great American tradition–Black Friday–with our one big sale
of the year.

I challenged our teams to place the lowest prices ever on everything
we offer for sale on Black Friday. After comparing our offerings to
other retailers’, I’m confident that jcp has the best values on a wide
range of terrific gifts. You’ll find eye-opening savings on hundreds
of items throughout the store–like $8 kitchen electrics, $10 Arizona
skinny jeans, $25 boots in over 50 different styles, and much more.

And that’s just the start. On Black Friday, we also launch our Merry
Christmas America campaign. We’ll be giving away 80 million
commemorative buttons, 20 million of which will win a great gift.

Simply get a button at jcp, then visit jcp.com/christmas and enter the
code on your button to see if you’ve won. You’ll get another
button-and another chance to win–every time you visit jcp during the
holiday season (while supplies last).

We’ve got some amazing gifts to give, including great American
vacations to Chicago, Yellowstone, New York and Washington, D.C., a
trip to Los Angeles to be part of “12 Days of Giveaways” on The Ellen
Show, jcp merchandise and jcp holiday certificates. We’re giving away
100 vacations on Black Friday alone.

I hope Merry Christmas America helps add some cheer to your holidays.
On behalf of everyone at jcpenney, best wishes to you and your
family.

See you Friday!

Yours truly,

Ron

A Big Box Thanksgiving

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Aging & Attitude

Forget about that seductive tryptophan induced nap on Thanksgiving evening, we are going shopping. Yes, after watching football all day, get in the car, start the engine, and be the first on line. The doors open at 8PM for Sears and Toys R Us, and 9PM for Wal-Mart and Target.

Twitter and Facebook chatted about a petition Target employees were circulating, in the hope corporate would rescind, to no avail.

Target is the second largest discount retailer in the United States, Wal-Mart the first. Target has 1,763 stores and 365,000 employees; a company spoke person said only one-third will have to work.

Both companies’ net income, or bottom line profit, is in the billions. Target’s CEO’s salary/incentive bonus is 24 million dollars.

Why would retail corporations want to open their doors hours earlier? To increase sales and profit. Profit is the reason to widen the gateway/window for purchasing holiday gifts, and it is knocking on the Thanksgiving Day Door. For several years, profit has snuck in the back around midnight, looking to be center stage and more important than family time together.

This year there is no pretending, Americans value stuff and are puffed when purchased on sale.

Thanksgiving is a federal holiday, a public holiday; however, the government cannot prevent businesses from opening, Blue Laws do.

In 1961, Chief Justice Warren upheld Maryland’s Blue Law of closed doors on Sunday not for religion reasons but “to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens” McGowan v. Maryland

Thanksgiving is a uniform day of rest for all citizens. Retail should be closed.

I was getting agitated, upset about the future and wondered, would our great grandkids have fond Thanksgiving memories as I had.

Then I read Chris Hamilton’s post Gold Happens When Your Characters Are Wrong and considered being mistaken.

I lack the ability to see the future, and might be wrong.

People may not text instead of talk at the table, perhaps linger after dinner, longing for that turkey on white bread sandwich after dinner. It is possible people will not be seduced into buying more stuff and calling it a holiday celebration.

Perhaps Wall Street will forego profit, stay home and play Monopoly with fake money and experience the real deal.

A blizzard could deposit a blanket of snow over all of North America, or Chicken Little could cry “The sky is falling, the sky is falling”.                                                      

                                                                                     ….just saying