The Almighty Dollar

Restoring some fiscal sanity in our -- negative savings rate -- lives

2.17.2006

Our Fine Presidents

While sipping my morning cup of green tea, I began skimming The Washington Post newspaper headlines: Updates from Turin (sorry don't care about the Olympics), Iraqi death squads, suicides in Rwanda. Some pretty hard-hitting stories. The Rwanda one particularly interested me.

I tried to continue reading the story on page A16, but couldn't flip to the page on the first try. Instead I landed on page A11 and was blinded by these words in giant bold print: "The Sprint Presidents' Day Sale."

The opposite page had same thing. You can't miss Parvizian Fine Rugs' "Presidents' Day Gigantic Sale" or Bassett Furniture Direct's "President's Day Sale." Nearly every other page contained ads for a sale commemorating this Monday's holiday. Marlo Furniture gets the prize for originality. Its "GW Birthday Mattress Sale" was the rare ad not containing the word "presidents" (where does that apostrophe go?).

At first I was disgusted that these companies will stop at nothing to lure us into their stores. I mean, come on, Presidents' Day? Then I realized I didn't even know what the holiday commemorated. So I googled it. I wanted to find an authoritative source, so I checked out The White House link on Presidents' Day. The link directed me to a kids page lacking any history about the holiday. No mention on the Web pages of Congress either.

Doesn't it seem strange that we choose to celebrate the legacies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln by fingering brightly-beaded necklaces at Macy's or slipping on a pair of new sneakers at Sports Authority?

I'm not a history buff. I won't be participating in the festivities at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. But I definitely won't get suckered into spending my dollars on a holiday that no one even knows how to spell.