Want to ruin a secular or religious day of observance? Have a sale to celebrate it.
At my last job, the Internet marketing lickspittles took every opportunity to inject commerce into something otherwise beautiful, grave or important. A few of their gems:
Don’t Let These Deals “Pass” You Over – Our Passover Sale!
Kiss These Deals – They’re Irish – St. Patty’s Day Sale!
TGIF – Our Good Friday Sale!
It’s Cinco de Deal-o!
Of course, all of these pale in comparison to department stores that have “white sales” on Martin Luther King Day. Think about that. Without any irony they’re selling white sheets on a day remembering a slain civil rights leader.
At Lost Art Press, we refuse to pair commercial activity to holidays, patriotism or national symbols. In fact, our only complaint about any of our suppliers is that the supplier for our hats puts an American flag on the back of the hat. I always cut it off when I see it.
Today is Memorial Day. Instead of shopping, I’m in the shop building a crate and thinking about my father, who served in Vietnam, and all my friends who served in the Gulf wars, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. I’m listening to some of the music my dad took with him to Vietnam for his TEAC reel-to-reel – Led Zeppelin IV and the Beatles white album – and hoping the (unlikely) day comes when war is obsolete.
— Christopher Schwarz
38 thoughts on “Get Your RAM for Ramadan!”
Well said, short and to the point. No lawyer speak. I agree, spread the word
I agree with your message. Yet, one point to be made regarding history of white sales might explain the situation. “White sales” began over a century before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Those of us older folk, living in the northern part of the nation, are probably more familiar with Wanamaker’s Dept Stores. He began January “white sales in 1878 to boost sales AND it was when linens came only in white. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanamaker%27s
From https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/shopping/best-january-bedding-white-sales/: For savvy shoppers, January’s arrival marks the perfect time to buy new household linens. This is when retailers deeply discount sheets, comforter sets, towels and more.
Here’s the lowdown on the annual January white sales, including some of the best ones to shop now. What are white sales? Department store pioneer John Wanamaker spearheaded the first January white sale in 1878 as a way to move inventory and entice shoppers, according to PBS, and retailers have been discounting linens in January ever since. These sales were called white sales because linens used to be available only in white. Retailers, including department stores such as J.C. Penney and Macy’s and online marketplaces such as Overstock and Amazon, carry on the white sale legacy. Today, you can also find other household necessities like kitchen utensils included in these home sales.
My point was you probably shouldn’t sell KKK costumes on MLK day, no matter what.
Thanks. Same generation as your Dad and in my 33 years of service lost too many friends.
Beautifully said. Bravo!
And I loved reading the “Roman Workbenches” book. I hesitated buying it thinking, do I really want to build a Roman workbench? But, of course, that was never the point. I got to learn more about our craft from you digging up and figure out these Titanic like discoveries. It’s like CSI (the show) for woodworkers. And now, wouldn’t you know, I want to build one!
Thanks for the beautiful Memorial Day Toast.
Fantastic message Chris.
As a veteran myself I get a little embarrassed when I hear Thanks for your service. I was just dong my part. but you are right, It all gets lost in the commercialism.
Mr. Schwartz, I read this blog because of how concise you write and make your point, please continue to never compromise your principles. Its good that you think of those who have served and are serving, even a small remembrance is better than none. I too am in the shop for a small time today, When I took my oath and served, (USMC ’86-’92), I knew it would be part of my time after service to remember those who passed. Some communities do it with parades, others with solemn ceremonies. I remember my Father, who served (USN) & his older brother (USAF) who served during Korea, my High School US History Teacher who Served in Italy, and in France during WW2, A Great Uncle who survived Omaha Beach on D-Day in WW2. And many others who I met along life’s path. Fellow veterans, all.
In many ways, working with wood, and learning its subtleties helps me along the way
Creation, of useful items,.. thinking in solitude and remembering it solitude.
Peace in our lifetime would be the goal.
No more war.
Thanks for your thoughts. To emphasize your point, the very next email I opened was from a cheap tool store advertising their sale.
Memorial Day – 4 Day Sale.
No, no irony at all…
Thank you for your concise principled observations on Memorial Day, wood irking, and LAP.
I wince ,when I hear someone say,”Happy Memorial Day”. This was a holiday that’s meaning was destroyed when it was made a 3 day weekend holiday.
Well said, thank you.
Thank you, I appreciate and applaud your point of view.
My dad crossed Normandy beach a few days after D-Day. My uncle flew a glider full of troops into Germany. My grandfathers served in both WWI and WWII. They are all gone now but their work remains.
I’m going to go put on some Glenn Miller and Benny Goodmen in their honor.
Whatever you call the federal holiday on the 11th of November (Veterans Day? Armistice Day?), that’s the day to remember what all the veterans have done for us. Memorial Day? that’s a day memorializing the veterans who died serving the military. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
I spent the last three days working side by side with my Dad who served in Vietnam, building plywood bookcases for my home, using tools from my Grandfathers (Vietnam and WW2) and making each other laugh with stories about them. We remembered the faces of our fathers and remembered them well.
Thank you for all who have served.
Chris, taking a break from ugly capitalism and imagining a world without war are great thoughts for Memorial Day.
I visited my dad at the cemetery and spent a few hours in the workshop using the tools and skills he passed down to me.
Thanks for posting today…always enjoyable.
Those slogans are right up there with bars and a certain brewer selling a drink called a “Black and Tan”. Ben & Jerry’s was going to have a flavor called that, but someone told them what a gaffe it was.
It’s amazing to me how so many principles tie together when you think about these ideas. There’s some foundational way of thought present here involving honesty, meaningful work, community, and a respect for what he have inherited both from nature and our forebears. I’ve found that you can trace this worldview across time and space like a lineage. Whether I’m reading Chris Schwarz on woodworking and consumerism or Wendell Berry on land or following a line of economic ideas from William Coperthwaite to Scott Nearing to Henry George.. there’s a connection there, and I think however you want to describe it, its value is immense, and there’s a glimpse there of a future where people live lives of beauty and meaning that are hard to come by in our age.
I find it ironic, yet fitting, that recognizing the solemnity of a holiday such as this (or any religious holiday, or Thanksgiving) is anarchy. To focus on the true meaning of those days, to settle down and spend time with family and remember why we’re ‘celebrating’ goes against what mainstream business and government want us to do.
You got it. It seems upside down in every way. But at least we can still act on our own accord.
Don’t you always make a point that you source everything from the US? Couldn’t that be construed as a type or form of patriotism “sell” regardless, if you keep “Old Glory” off you products? Regardless, I agree with the rest of your sentiments.
Yes we do. Stating where our products are made is a requirement of our retailers. And, simply put, we are trying to comply with Federal Trade Commission standards.
I am not sure I understand why you take the flag off the products? I only saw one reference to the flag in the FTC standards and it did not seem to indicate an issue with the flag, especially when the product in question is made in the USA.
The flag has nothing to do with the FTC stuff. We label our products “Made in the United States” to comply with FTC and our retailers. I snip the flag off my personal hats because I’m crazy.
Do you stomp on it and burn it too? That would be an anarchist thing to do.
I do not think that word means what you think it means.
All right fine, but, clipping the flags off the hats is just a little anal.
How much of your anarchy is driven by environmental concerns? Sourcing local goods is good for your neighbors but is also beneficial to the planet, saving food miles etc. or is it more about connectedness, the satisfaction in knowing where it came from and the conditions it was made/grown/brewed?
Thank you again for all of the positive contributions you and LAP are making to the world.
Bradley van Luyt.
I think that no matter what political stripes you have, taking good care of the place where you live is common sense.
Anti-consumerism is generally good for the planet. It is equally good for the mental health of individuals, families and communities.
So yes, environmental concerns are an important part of my world view.
Thank you, this is how Memorial Day should be celebrated! Not with barbecue’s or sales, but remembering the human cost of politics by other means. It’s good to see that the weight of this day is not lost on everyone.
Memorial Day is Commemorated, not celebrated. And wars have happened long before politics became a thing. Its human nature, for people to want what others have, and for some people to tell others how to live or what to do. That seems lost on many people, even here.
And there is nothing wrong with gathering with friends and relatives, and remembering possibly your long ago ancestors, close relatives, or friends who gave all their future days, so others would have a chance for freedom.
So this explains why there is no special pricing for National Jack Plane Day. Picture it “50% off Jack”. I should have been in marketing…
Oh don’t get me started on “we’re jacking off prices!”
It took me twice to read this and understand what it’s about, being an outsider a non American I couldn’t grasp what your on about, but I do now and agree with you just never thought about it before you mentioned. A day of remembrance should be just that, not a day of sale. Thanks for the eye opener Chris, I shall implement that from now on.
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