I was reading the headlines on CNN.com this morning, and I found this article about Wal-Mart deciding to use "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" this year.
Wal-Mart has told its employees that it's OK to once again greet shoppers by saying "Merry Christmas" this holiday season instead of the generic "Happy Holidays."
CNN confirmed that Wal-Mart will announce Thursday that it plans to use the phrase "Merry Christmas" in products and around its stores this holiday season.
The announcement comes a year after religious groups such as The American Family Association and The Catholic League boycotted retailers including Wal-Mart last holiday season for excluding the word "Christmas" from products sold in stores.
"We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley told USA Today in a separate report. "We're not afraid to use the term 'Merry Christmas.' We'll use it early, and we'll use it often."
First of all, let me say that I'm Jewish, and I have no problem with a store using the word Christmas on any of their products, especially things that are obviously Christmas products. What I don't understand is why clerks saying "Happy Holidays" to customers is so offensive to some people that are Christian. Does it bother them that a store wants to include me in their greeting?
I really didn't need another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart anyway. Their business practices and the way that they treat employees have already prevented me from shopping there unless I have no other option. But it isn't just Wal-Mart that is affected by the "Merry Christmas Wars" of 2005.
Last year, I went to a local Hallmark to buy some Chanukkah candles, cards, wrapping paper, and other assorted Chanukkah stuff. When the store clerk rang up my order, she simply said "Goodbye, and have a nice day" since I obviously was not Christian. Well, her manager turned around when she heard her forget to say "Merry Christmas" and yelled it at me before I could get out of the store, then preceded to scold her employee for not using the correct holiday greeting. If I thought that she was just doing that to everyone and not rectifying her employee's apparent misstep, I would have rolled my eyes and left. Instead, I turned around and held up my bag full of Chanukkah stuff and said, "Happy Chanukkah." Her face turned red with embarrasment, and I must say that it felt good.
Okay, thanks for reading my rant. My point is that carrying Christmas specific merchandise and advertising for Christmas is fine, but being inclusive of other religions by simply saying "Happy Holidays" to everyone is good customer service. I'm not even offended when people say "Merry Christmas" to me, but I am offended when a store makes it a policy to exclude everyone but Christians in their holiday greetings.