Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: The High Holiday of Capitalism

Well, here it is, Black Friday; the high holiday of Capitalism. Thanksgiving got the usual short thrift again this year, stuck as it is between the "Candyween" and
"CreditcardMas ". I guess I can't really blame anyone. After all, it's pretty tough trying to commercialize a tradition of giving thanks for family and friends. Where's the money in that? Besides, Thanksgiving is mostly a food oriented day, punctuated with excessive eating and football, followed by food induced comas (nothing says "thank you" to the All Mighty like overindulgence and a 7 point spread).

I guess what I object to the most is all the Christmas hype. This year I saw my very first commercial (I kid you not) the week before Halloween. Now seriously, in October? There should be a law prohibiting any promotion of a holiday before the preceding holiday. For example, no advertising of Thanksgiving (as if that's going to happen anyway) before Candyween. No Christmas commercials, TV specials, sales or anything else until the day after Thanksgiving. Now doesn't that make more sense? Let's give each holiday its proper due and respect (not to mention our frantic nerves and credit cards a break).

Money Growing on (Christmas) Trees?

Speaking of Christmas, did you hear the latest about Christmas trees? Obama had originally agreed to sign a law applying a 15 cent tax to every fresh cut Christmas tree sold. As if that wasn't outrageous enough, the reason was even more outrageous. According to the Agriculture Department, the tax would apply to all "producers and importers" of 500 trees or more. The USDA went on to say that this new program, and its tax was for the benefit of the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. Now just what is the Christmas Tree Promotion Board you might be asking yourself about now? Well, let me tell you.

The Christmas Tree Promotion Board is a private association of Christmas tree growers who are feeling the stiff competition from the manufactures of artificial Christmas trees (I wonder if there's an Artificial Christmas Tree Promotion Board?). Seems that the board was needing some help getting its message out about the splendors (and smells) of having a fresh Christmas tree in every living room in America. Apparently unable to obtain voluntary cooperation from within the group, they turned to the USDA.

However, after much ridicule, both the Obama Administration and the Agriculture Department agreed that now wasn't a really good time talk about taxing a Christmas tradition and withdrew the program until a more appropriate time (like when the public isn't paying as much attention). Now, just why the federal government is even considering a tax on behalf of a private organization for the benefit of their advertising and PR costs is beyond me. I can only assume that Hanukah bushes are exempt.

For more on the story, check out:

White House Sidelines Christmas Tree Tax

No comments: