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Holidays and holiday

Posted Friday, June 29, 2012, at 9:00 PM

"A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin. "But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning." (From "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens)

In the interest of full disclosure, our son Nathan is owner and operator of Computer Central here in Brazil. And, no, he's not like Ebenezer Scrooge (well, not too much like him). I hang out there and pretend I have a clue as to what is going on, which I do not. Anyhow, in the interest of full disclosure I have a vested interest in Nathan's business.

In writing these blogs (the only compensation being art-for-arts-sake) I think it reasonable to mention Computer Central, or any other local business, where it is germane to my eclectic thought process.

That said, Computer Central will be closed July 4 -- as it has been for the preceding 10 Independence Days. I do have say in this matter, and that's what I say.

We are essentially a service business with a retail component. Having been in service businesses for more than 50 years, I've always found not many want to bother with service needs on particular Holidays. Generally, we have closed for only those Holidays that carry a certain other-activity tradition -- Labor Day, Christmas, etc. For others having no firmly established family goings-on we might be open -- President's Day for example.

What bothers me, however, is how many stores will be, believe they must be, open for just about every Holiday; degrading Holidays into holidays.

I'm old enough to remember when you'd better be prepared for a Holiday. Come Christmas Day or Independence Day the only ones open would be a few gas stations -- way out on the highway. And they didn't carry eggnog, either.

As the immortal sage Deep Throat tutored a generation, "Follow the money."

My introduction to sales on a Holiday was 1981, the biggest day for selling appliances for Tipton Stores in St. Louis. I was a part-time fill-in, and they were going to need me. It was amazing how many showed up at 8 a.m., to buy a microwave. Not that much was on sale, but veteran salesmen counted on the day to make their month. It worked for Tipton in part because nobody else was open. Now it's hard to find anyone with the chutzpah to stay closed if it is remotely possible a competitor may be open.

In the never-ending transformation, which comes with marketing and politic correction, no day set apart for celebration and to remembrance is safe anymore. Faded and forgotten are the days of preparing ahead because none of the stores would be open. "They" say we are progressing, "they" being they who forgot to pick up eggnog at Page's.

But, not everything need be commercialized. And some things are still worth stopping and remembering why it was we as a nation decided to put this day above others. Some things are worth just saying, "no matter what the big guys do we will take a day of rest from business and buying."

Nothing I blog about will change the world, but Computer Central will be closed July 4 -- and Labor Day, and Thanksgiving and every other Holiday we can use as an excuse for family holiday.

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My view from the back pew
David L. Lewis
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