Each year, Christmas corresponds with a steep spike in shoppers donning a festive sweater or Santa hat. Such scenes have helped set the holiday stage for generations; however, one Tennessee couple recently discovered that some establishments do not exactly accommodate Christmas cheer.
David and Bette Carter began their shopping season in much the same way as millions of others across America. They visited Nashville’s Opry Mills Mall on Black Friday to scope out the biggest bargains.
Dressed in Christmas-themed outfits and entertaining passersby, the couple attempted to bring some additional joy to what can often be a stressful experience. While they engaged fellow shoppers with their merriment, mall officials deemed them a threat.
“As we were walking through the mall,” Bette recalled, “some young woman who was security there asked us to leave.”
Apparently, David explained, the establishment was concerned that he and his wife would draw attention away from the mall’s resident Santa Claus. Despite assuring security staff that was not their intention, the Carters were forcibly removed from the premises.
While mall officials wanted them out, the couple recalled several merchants who said their presence brought in more traffic.
Rivergate Mall, another local shopping destination, employed a similar strategy to boot the Carters from that location.
“No beard, no belly, no belt, no boots, no bag,” David said, describing the getups he and his wife wore that day. “Just ‘Merry Christmas,’ and stuff like that.”
This yearly tradition was unceremoniously halted by the staff of two malls, which illustrates a latent hostility toward the true meaning of Christmas. While Americans are encouraged to follow the federal government’s lead and spend themselves into massive debt during the holiday season, true displays of the season’s love and joy are now considered intolerable acts.
In response to an apology from Opry Mills Mall, Bette said she doesn’t expect she and David will continue their outreach mission at any of the area’s malls. Hopefully, they won’t let this setback deter them from future goodwill gestures.
Millions of Americans still recognize why we celebrate Christmas and, instead of the secularized distortion we are forced to witness each year, would prefer to see much more of this couple.
–B. Christopher Agee
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