There’s the standard advice for do-it-yourself Thanksgiving diners, and then there’s another way: deal only with retail behemoths in particular locations. The National Retail Federation says the average American will spend $738 on the holiday. That’s less than the $829 it says was spent by the average guest at a Thanksgiving dinner at a non-retail establishment in 2016. Inflation, of course, affects the dollar, but retail discounting also accounts for those shifts. I visited New York this week with Mom and Dad, and while we were happy with our Thanksgiving-friendly local corner shop, Target was where we went.
They have no deep-freeze case. No hot ice bar. No buffet. Only free coffee and chocolate. At times, the yappiest staff I’ve seen in a megastore. We heard a woman who was desperate for condiments say, “This is just like going to a dive bar.” That was probably the first time I’ve made myself sound like a douchebag. No, not a jukebox, a bottle of whiskey. This is a grocery store.
Our two toddler boys looked around and at one point said, “Why the hell would a company like Target want to cater to 3-year-olds?” I tried to explain that the prices were on par with Target’s average prices for children’s clothing. In the next few minutes we devised a plan that involved placing the toddler in one spot, and Mom and Dad holding hands in the aisle. It worked very well. Then my brother said he wanted the cheese dip—a whole pear has 45 calories per ounce—from Target.
Mom said yes, and we returned to the entrance where the staff helped him put down the cheese dip. Then he said, “Mom, is this buffet?” I said, “I’d say yes.” He ran off and ranted about how it was typical of the stores.
So I did what any good son would do and tweeted him, which is to say I went off and took a selfie and posted it. Moments later my mom responded and made everyone who saw it enviously think they could spend every Thanksgiving in the same place.
An hour later my mother said, “Hey, did you see how the service’s gotten better since you tweeted him?”
I said, “I never tweeted him.”
“Thanks,” she said. “You’re my hero. I’m going to go and get the cheese dip I saw him buy.”
That was an epic show of gratitude for which we are both eternally grateful.