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The Value of Rest: A Note to Target, WalMart and KMart Shoppers

I’ve started this post a dozen times and deleted hundreds of characters. I wanted to explain to you the import of rest. I wanted to tell you that shopping after your Thanksgiving meal is obscene. I was going to remind you that you weren’t really saving money buying sale tchotchkes that you wouldn’t otherwise have purchased. I was going to remind you how utterly depressing it would be to look at a checker at WalMart, KMart or Target and know that they just don’t get a normal holiday because you showed up.

I was going to ask you to stay home after your Thanksgiving dinner.

Then I realized that if you’re looking to bail on your family and friends that Thursday night we are likely at an impasse before we begin. It’s inconceivable to me that anyone would want to cut the evening short and you likely wouldn’t trust my opinion anyhow.

What I would hope we all keep in mind is the need for rest. Every religion has a sabbath and every physician has prescribed rest for ailments ranging from colds to cancer. Athletes know that rest days increase both strength and endurance. When our children are little we work hard to maintain their sleep and nap schedules, when they outgrow naps there is often scheduled downtime in the afternoons. Then we send them to school and tell them they’ll rest when they retire.

Obesity is linked to bad sleep habits.

We emphasize hard work and reward it with praise and money. When the Greek economy collapsed and we heard about their work hours and early retirements we rolled our eyes and said, “of course”. When executives come here from England and Australia they are horrified by the lack of vacation days and the fact that they may sit at their desks in the evenings. We do things differently here in America.

When my husband proposed in London he presented me with a ring that was a little loose. I needed to have it sized or at a minimum to buy a ring guard. On the evening of December 23rd that was impossible and it had to wait until the 26th and even then not everything was open. During the Olympic games shopkeepers in London were allowed to stay open longer hours on Sundays (they have laws about those things) and someone mentioned to me that they hadn’t actually made more money, just worked more hours. I suspect that is true but cannot confirm.

Sometimes when you’re weird you’re cutting edge. Sometimes when you’re weird you’ve just got problems.

I used to be really good about taking a digital sabbath. I used to be the mom that would power down her phone when she was with her kids because if the kids are with you there can’t be an emergency, right? Recently I’ve slipped into answering emails in the early evenings because my iphone makes it so easy.

You see we’re all guilty of not prioritizing and the businesses aren’t making us behave the way we do. They’re just reacting to our behavior. One of Target’s employees has started a petition, knowing full well she’ll likely be fired for it, asking them to take the high road and save Thanksgiving. I’d never want to legislate the hours that stores can be open, but I’m game for a bit of shame.