"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks, Black Friday & Walmart

Sacred:  devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated. Entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.

 "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the
healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads."
-Revelations 22:1-4

In the winter of 1620 a group of 102 pilgrim pioneers began an adventure that had no turning back. When the journey came to it's end the following spring fifty-six pilgrims were left standing.  Because of the harsh winter conditions and illness forty-six died. It was an extremely difficult time. Surrounded by the land's native people, whose intent they could not know, they buried their dead by night so the tribes wouldn't realize how quickly their numbers were dwindling and prayed by day that they would live to see another day.

So with that being said, when the fruitful harvest and late fall arrived in 1621, it was natural that the weary settlers and their native benefactors should gather in a great feast of lobster and goose, turkey and venison, duck and pumpkin, fruit and corn. These Pilgrims, sorely tested, gave thanks for surviving a brutal winter and for the help of friends. I truly believe that it would be impossible for all involved not to count their blessings when thinking of the trials just endured, the terrors of their strange new land and the loss of their dearest comrades. The original 102 pilgrims, lived and died, bravely in the face of danger and most likely prayed daily for the strength and safety to carry on.

That day, a day that was set apart to give sincere thanks in 1621, was sacred.

Fast forward 392 years...

Many of us are familiar with "Black Friday". Retailers and shoppers alike would agree it's the busiest shopping day of the year because it has been since 2005. Black Friday is the name given to the day following Thanksgiving, traditionally signifying the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 a.m., or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season. 

Black Friday is not an official holiday.

I realize that last statement is not only a shock to some, but a downright revelation to a many.

The term "Black Friday" found its origin in the year 1869. It was in that same year and on the day of September 24th our country experienced it's first major financial catastrophe. This was caused by two speculators’ efforts, Jay Gould and James Fisk, to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange. It was one of several scandals that rocked the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.
Fast forward 92 years to 1961.

Today, the term millions of American's use originated in Philadelphia in 1961, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. The term grew in appeal and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: "Black Friday" indicated the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black".

Ah, Profit... the wonderful six letter word.

For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000's many slowly began to open as early as 4am. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohls, Macy's, and Best Buy) opened at midnight for the first time.

In 2012, Walmart led several other retailers in announcing it would open its stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, rightfully prompting calls for a walkout among some workers.

Few things are scared anymore.

"Walton's five and Dime"

Walmart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walmart. His first store was located in Bentonville, Arkansas and was named "Walton's Five and Dime."

Today Walmart has over 8500 stores worldwide in 15 countries. They are the largest private employer employing over 2 million people and are recognized as the worlds 3rd largest public corporation. In the United States alone Walmart has 3,971 stores, employees 1.4 million people (that number represents 1% of the US working population- 140 million), and in 2009 created revenue in the amount of $258 billion (63.8% of it's total sales), 51% of that being generated from their grocery segment of business. Walmart is the largest grocer in the world. In 2011 Walmart's global sales surpassed $400 billion.

It's profit exceeded 15 billion.

Profit is good; greed, on the other hand, is not.

In the US stores alone Walmart earns over $706,849,315.17 million a day; $29,452,054.80 million an hour.

Walmart on the other hand pays it's hourly associates $11.75 an hour. That's $20,744 a year. The national retail average wage is $12.04. They are well above the national minimum wage which is currently at $7.25.

What has become sacred is revenue and profit, at all cost.

Just a sidebar... I believe that Walmart should take half of the profit they generate on "Thanksgiving Day" and give it to charity that aids feeding the homeless year around. I really do. I know that Walmart is extremely important to our domestic economy and I have no doubt that they provide support for many a charities "but" the fact they are open on Thanksgiving night is wrong. Make the contribution public and develop a national advertising campaign each year outlining the plans for the Thanksgiving Day profits and who it will benefit.

I wonder if Mr. Walmart's "five & dime" was open on Thanksgiving night back in the 1960's? I can almost bet it wasn't. Most likely his store was closed on Sundays too.

Scientists from RAND Corp. show off their computer in 1954.

Finally, there's no denying we live in a different world than we did fifty years ago. Change has been grand as we've all witnessed unbelievable advances in the areas of medicine, technology, and race relations.

But we have also failed tremendously.

We have failed in the worst way.

We no longer hold sacred the things that truly are sacred.

Our country has displayed example after example that the only thing that is sacred is our wants; our needs. We have decided to irrigate unto our self the right to terminate life under the guise of reproductive rights and to redefine marriage because many believe the definition to be out dated and up for debate, with numerous American's concluding that the institution of marriage is in play to be reinterpreted and reinvented. Unfortunately, our country has "seen the light" in terms of God and prayer too, deeming it the right thing, the progressive thing, to remove both from every region of public life because many find it's importance in a public forum to be fading, offensive, and archaic. All of this has been accomplished because many conclude that it's their sacred right to do so.

And with all these "revelations" we as a society are told we must not just acknowledge and tolerate these progressive movements, but we are to celebrate them.

And if we dare not to celebrate the wanted changes that promote a secular society we become the problem in society, not the moral decay and decline that is engulfing our country. And somehow I'm to become a man without a conscious, a man without a heart, all for the purpose of supporting this marvelous illusions of secular progressiveness.

No thanks. 

Os Guinness defines secularism as the process of religious ideas, institutions and interpretations losing there social significance. In the end, if you must claim in a secularized society to believe in God and to be a Christian who is guided by your faith in Jesus Christ, it is alright as long as you keep those beliefs out of all public debate and any national conversation. Those beliefs are to be kept private. In today's society we are free to do almost anything except share our belief in God in any discernible or tangible way.

If I do so I do so at my own risk opening the door for me to be labeled a do gooder moralist, bible thumping hypocrite that is a closed minded non progressive relic from a post modern society.

In the end, we are a free people that will fight for, and celebrate, our freedom. The irony, and tragedy, is that our freedom is killing us.

The greatest enemy of freedom is freedom itself. 

So, as business' are free to open their doors allowing millions of free American's to freely purchase goods that most of us can not afford (America is currently $21 billion behind in credit card debt with the average credit card at $15,328) and to operate, and participate, in the free market that is called capitalism we are slowly dying a slow death. Black Friday turns into Black Thursday to Black Wednesday and so on and so forth.

In the end, it's of no real difference because nothing is sacred anymore, we are all free to do what we want.

OK, I'm done. I need to get to Starbucks. I hope there open today, being that it's Thanksgiving and all.

sbb 22.11.12

The average Walmart "associate," Wake Up Walmart reports, makes $11.75 an hour. That's $20,744 per year. Those wages are slightly below the national average for retail employees, which is $12.04 an hour. They also produce annual earnings that, in a one-earner household, are below the $22,000 poverty line.
On the other hand, these wages are far above minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They also aren't THAT FAR below the national retail average (only 2.5% below). In a two-earner household, moreover, these wages would produce a household income of $40,000+, which, in some areas of the country, is comfortably middle-class.  Walmart offers benefits to some of its employees, as well as store discounts and profit-sharing plans

Read more:
global sales crossed $400 billion last year. Its profits exceeded $15 billion. Its market value--$200 billion--has weathered the Great Recession and market crash and remains near all-time highs.

Read more:
global sales crossed $400 billion last year. Its profits exceeded $15 billion. Its market value--$200 billion--has weathered the Great Recession and market crash and remains near all-time highs.

Read more: is not bad; greed, on the other hand, is.

No comments: