UNITED STATES—Last year we debated about the issue of rather the kick-off to the shopping season Black Friday was interrupting the sanctimonious holiday known as Thanksgiving. At first I suspected it wasn’t such a big issue, but after the leak of several big time retailers’ holiday ads it’s apparent, that Black Friday has now become Black Thursday-giving.
Why do you ask? Because the retailers seem to care less and less about their employees spending the holiday with family and forcing them to come in for work. So what time are many of those stores opening? Around 5 p.m., some of the stores are even opening on Thanksgiving Day. Like I seriously can’t believe this! For many grocery stores I understand the notion of opening on Thanksgiving Day for those last minute items, but even they close their stores early to allow employees to spend time with family members.
It’s like corporate America has one thing on their mind and one thing only: money. Yes. Previous years have shown that people will totally abandon the turkey dinner to ensure they get the opportunity to get in on those super bargains that you will likely not see anywhere else.
I just hate the notion that the stores are opening at a time that is literally right in the middle of dinner time with the family. Look its tradition in my family to shop on Black Friday, I mean I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager, but come on. I used to love the notion of getting up at 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning to prepare for Black Friday, now that is almost irrelevant.
Last year, we didn’t even get out the door until after 9 p.m., yeah we were a few hours behind the bunch, but I was determined to spend some quality time with the family. I don’t see the stores willing to go back to that tradition of opening at 4, 5, 6 or 7 a.m. on Black Friday as they have done in the past. Look if you have bargains people are going to show up. I think that’s the big misconception; we have to compete with everyone else’s time. No, you don’t, you really don’t.
I must say I’m impressed with Best Buy’s strategy. They are opening on Thanksgiving Day at 5 a.m., but closing at 1 a.m. Friday morning. So the store will be open for eight hours only and then re-open at 8 a.m. the same day. It allows the company to regroup on items, but also to give employees a breather. I mean some of these stores are opening on Thursday and not closing till Friday night. Yeah, they’re open for close to 24-30 hours! I’m trying to wrap my mind around the number of employees scheduled to work for the busiest shopping day of the year. Probably more than I can count.
The big trend is those die-hards who come out on Thanksgiving Day, spend the rest of the holiday weekend in doors. In other words, if you venture out to the stores on Friday you’ll notice the crowds noticeably much smaller and lighter. All of the big deal items are gone, so the late crowds are left only with the scraps.
I really want the retailers to consider transitioning back to the Golden Years of Black Friday; where it used to be fun and the stress wasn’t really thrown to the employees. With this trend of opening stores earlier and earlier, the workers cannot spend the holidays with their family. What is even worse, the day of Thanksgiving as we know it is slowly disappearing and will cease to exist in my eyes!
By David Miller