Purple Thursday: A Profitable Proposal


(C. Michael Bergen/The State/MCT)

Things got a little wild in the shoe department at the Columbiana Centre Belk in Columbia, South Carolina, Thursday night, November 22, 2012, as throngs of shoppers got a jump on Black Friday sales.

Too long have we ignored the obvious solution to a problem that has been plaguing our holiday season. Too long have we listened to our mother-in-laws berate us for our stuffing being too ‘bready,’ and our turkey being too ‘birdy,’ and our mashed potatoes being just too ‘mashed.’ Not to mention their opinions on our pumpkin pie: “Honey, dear, it’s just too orange for my eyes to handle.” We sit there filling our mouths waiting not for dessert, but waiting for midnight. Waiting to be able to go wait some more in line somewhere else. We are not thinking about being thankful; we are daydreaming about that shopping list, all wrinkled and folded into our purses and back pockets. We drool not over the platefuls of food, but over the savings, oh! the wonderful savings. The millions of dollars that we will all save from spending billions on stuff that we never planned on getting or even wanted. The stuff: the stuff to go next to that pile of stuff, sitting on top of that one layer of stuff, because it just goes so well with that one adorable piece of stuff. So instead of wasting all of our time on Thanksgiving (who needs to think about what we have to be thankful for anyway?), I propose that we rid ourselves of the burden of Thanksgiving and instead enact a day called Purple Thursday.

If Purple Thursday replaced Thanksgiving, there would be no need to cook all day and sit and listen to your mother-in-law berate you and your cooking. There would be no over-the-top meal and extravagant centerpieces, no expensive tablecloth, I mean, who has money for that anyway? We save all of our money up for Black Friday instead. With Purple Thursday there would be no need to reflect on all of our privileges before we go and gorge ourselves on sales; we could instead spend that time reflecting on Juicy Couture’s new line of track suits and Ugg’s new boots.

Purple Thursday will begin at midnight of Wednesday, the previous day, unless of course, stores want to push it back a little further, like to noon of Wednesday, and maybe even move it to Tuesday for more profit time. Instead of the wonderful line waiting that occurs in the wee hours of Thanksgiving that is cut way too short, Purple Thursday will provide the shopping community with a full 24 hours of waiting in line for sales. This will allow for even more time to map out a battleground and finish organizing those binders of coupons by color as well as font. Not to mention how much we all love waiting in line too.

Furthermore, some stores, to draw a larger crowd might want to offer a few extra things. They could have a traditional Thanksgiving meal buffet available (for a price of course, but 50% off competitor’s prices!). But here is the real draw for consumers–a pair of keys for a steamroller would be hidden in each serving dish: a pair in the turkey, and the mashed potatoes and the pies. The steamroller of course, is to get rid of that pesky woman who claimed that she, in fact, saw that ultra-cute pair of next season’s Jimmy Choos at, like, 10,000% off. This of course, would not at all lead to a decrease in profits as a result of the decrease (as a result of death) in shoppers.

There might be a few objections, and I understand. As to the objection that it would lead to losing the real meaning of Thanksgiving, Purple Thursday will allow us to show our thanks even more so than Thanksgiving does. We show our thanks by being thankful for all the things we will buy. In regards to the absence of Native Americans in this new holiday, stores could encourage shoppers to perform a “sale dance” in the style of the traditional Sioux rain dance. The sale dance would be to Coupon, the sale god, in the hope that he will grant them more percent off. In the long run, Purple Thursday would be a huge improvement over the current atrocity of a holiday, Thanksgiving.

Purple Thursday may seem ridiculous, but for some it is actually a reality.  Sure, saving money might be really important to some people, but don’t let it detract from what Thanksgiving is supposed to really be: a necessary reflection on privilege and fortune and hard work. Thanksgiving doesn’t need a solution, it needs to be defended. Defended from a lust for stuff that seems to be seeping up into appreciation’s floorboards. Yes, Black Friday has some incredible deals, but let them stay on Friday with the turkey and stuffing on Thursday. Maybe then, if we take time to appreciate all the things we already have, we won’t even feel the need to go buy some more of it.