Archived Story

Katie Rohman: Dr. King would appreciate a Blue Light Special

Published 12:53am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was Monday. Schools and government buildings closed in recognition of the federal holiday. Various events, lectures and marches were held across the area and the nation as well.

But essays, films and speeches aren’t the only ways to recognize the civil rights leader.

How about 25 percent off men’s and women’s casual watches and watch sets? Or 40 percent off toys and fragrances and up to 30 percent off bed and bath? Get free shipping on orders over $99 with a store coupon code!

These are real deals, folks. Stores like Kmart and Sears seriously held one- and three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. Day sales.

Not once anywhere in the advertising do they mention what MLK Day actually is. But since it’s a holiday — and boy, do Americans love holidays — that means it’s time for clearance buys!

This is not exclusive to MLK Day, or even Kmart or Sears.

U.S. Cellular is offering a “sweetheart of a deal” this year on messaging phones.

Of course, there will be specials at jewelry, candy and gift stores, because they offer items directly related to Valentine’s Day.

For St. Patrick’s Day, pubs should have beer specials.

For Arbor Day, greenhouses should have tree specials.

For Thanksgiving, grocers should have food specials.

But hijacking a holiday and using it as an excuse to have any kind of sale doesn’t make any sense. Why not just have a sale anytime? Do people think about looking for deals on blenders or used cars or circular saws when Columbus Day rolls around?

It just defeats the purpose of holidays, which are pretty much blended, tossed and mushed into whatever politically correct contortion of a holiday we want them to be.

Atheists now celebrate Christmas, which essentially takes place from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25. It has been watered down into a two-month spending, eating and decorating spree.

Thanksgiving is nearly forgotten because it is run over by Christmas-planning and immediately followed by the after-Thanksgiving Day sales.

Halloween is now a time when we dress in store-bought costumes and walk to businesses in the daytime to ask for hand-outs. Somewhere in there must be some Christmas shopping.

I’m not sure what Easter is anymore. Do families still dye eggs or even go to church services?

I realize I sound like a curmudgeon. But doesn’t anyone else out there miss holidays? When there was one special day for each one? Maybe you would even move them up a day or two to celebrate because of a long roadtrip or bad weather or waiting until you could get time off work.

Instead of being a special time to reflect and relax and share moments with family and friends, they are magnified, supersized and super-stored.

The idea for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was actually introduced by a Michigander, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, in 1979. I wonder if he ever imagined King’s “dream” would be recognized as a “50 percent-off mattresses sale” at Sears?

Katie Rohman is the managing editor of the Niles Daily Star, Off the Water, Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus. She can be reached at (269) 687-7713 or at katie.rohman@leaderpub.com.

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