Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oh, Canada...How Could You?

We picked Lula up from work on Saturday, she hopped into the van angry and disappointed. "I have to work tomorrow!"

"What do you mean 'work tomorrow'? It’s Canada Day, Nobody 'works' tomorrow."

"Ya well I do" she grumbled, "We get to celebrate Canada Day on Monday, that's when the store is closed."

Okay, I've missed a memo and clearly the referendum debate and vote in which we elect to move Canada Day (a statutory holiday) to which ever day fits best with our schedules and our retail economic plan.

Have we lost our minds Canada?

I thought maybe this was a one off scenario, but no, Lula's store, the one down the street, the big mega stores at the mall...all open Sunday; Canada Day...closed Monday. Somebody said to me "Ya well, everyone else is off on Monday." Yes, everyone else is off on Monday, because the Statutory holiday falls on a Sunday, people who ordinarily don't work on Sundays get to take the Monday off, that way the employer is not paying them extra to not work on a day they would not be working anyway. It's the administrative economic plan.

Anger I guess festers in me over this for a couple of reasons; first remember the days when nothing was open on Sunday? You couldn't buy a loaf of bread, a new stove or a new pair of jeans. Heck if you forgot to buy milk you found yourself at the mercy of the corner 'convenience store' the store with penalty high prices that thrived on brisk sales on Sundays and holidays. Yes, dear children, there was a time when the 'Convenience' store was vital to the community for more that slushies and cigarettes. Can you remember back to that time when everybody was home on Sunday by design, when there was nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one was missing from the dinner table? Sunday was a day for family. Was, we let it go to retail convenience and the quest for economic gain. Way to go Canada.

What about Boxing Day? Remember that day? Once upon a time people celebrated Christmas overflow on that day. Nothing was open. In recent years we have been missing family from our celebrations because they either 1) have to work or 2) have a line up for the best ever deal they need to be in. We let that day go too, replaced those 24 family hours with consumer need and retail greed. Way to go Canada.

There is a great amount of talk about making November 11 a national statutory holiday. Please I beg you Canada, don't do it. In the eventuality of that happening marketers will find a way to basterdize it into a retail event with half priced IPods and free poppies to the first 100 customers. In the event that November 11 falls on a Wednesday in all likelihood we will celebrate it on Monday or Friday in pursuit of a long weekend. It's the predictable demise of Canadian tradition. I would much rather keep my two sacred minutes of silence at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month and remember the occasion than have an extra day to kick back with my friends. Plus pausing for those 2 minutes will be good practice for Christmas when there is no holiday to associate with December 25th and I am sitting at my desk opening e-greetings and reminiscing about the way holidays used to be celebrated in Canada.
The whole thing infuriates me. We live in the greatest country in the world with the greatest freedoms and opportunities. We have been blessed with reasons to celebrate and the freedoms to do so..... And we are giving them up, little by little one inch, one shopping hour, one holiday at a time. There is a lot of complaining about working too much and never getting a day off. Well we used to have them, but we let them be taken away. Nobody arrives at the end of this journey wishing they had spent more time at work or at the mall. Way to go Canada.

Our plans for Canada Day have been changed in light of Lula's having to work. We were going to go for the day, maybe to the beach or downtown celebrations enjoy the day and stay for the fireworks display, but I refuse to celebrate as a family without her. Instead we will catch fireworks tonight and go somewhere tomorrow after the flags have been torn down and the festival booths have been dismantled. We will celebrate an ordinary Monday instead. We will but I will be sad for yet another tradition we have allowed to slip through our hands.
I would be ever so grateful today if people refused to step foot inside a shopping mall, grocery store or big box. I would be grateful if we as consumers sent that message to retailers that some things are not for sale; like our national pride, civic freedoms and family traditions. If we sent THAT message the WAY TO GO CANADA! would be one of grateful celebration!

Happy Canada Day! Enjoy your celebration like cigarettes...Smoke'm if you got'em!