Yesterday, as we went through our bout of tryptophan overdosing after a delicious Thanksgiving meal, a few of our family members spread out the local ads from the newspaper and began planning their Black Friday shopping strategy. I worked in retail for a few years as a young adult, and would rather get a root canal than set foot in the mall on the day after Thanksgiving. (At least you can find a parking space for a root canal.) It was bad enough thirty years ago, before the term “Black Friday” had even been coined, but nowadays it’s not even on Friday. CBS reported yesterday on the relatively recent trend for retailers to open stores on Thanksgiving Day — sometimes all day — and how a few business owners and consumers have started a Black Thursday backlash:
To be fair, this particular year will be tough for retailers. Thanks to the late Thanksgiving holiday, they have less than four weeks for the Christmas season, which is why stores started rolling out Christmas specials and marketing before Halloween. Retailers get as much as half of their annual profits from this season alone, and since this year looks more dismal than usual, the desperation might be understandable.
However, even with just four weeks, everyone will have plenty of time to do their shopping. Thanks to the ramped-up pressure of this season, few people will have the opportunity to spend a day relaxing with their families. Do we really need the few extra hours in the stores, or do retailers just need to provide more drama and pressure on shoppers? Also, it’s one thing when small business owners make a decision to open up for a day by going to the store themselves to work, and another when a big-box chain store tells its managers and franchisees that they have top open on Thanksgiving. The CBS report features one Sears franchisee that essentially told the home office to pound sand. Maybe shoppers should tell retailers the same thing, for both Thursday and Friday.
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