Traditions change over time — Some for the good and others for the bad. As the holiday season approaches, there is one tradition, started within the past two decades, that in our opinion is much more for the bad than good.
As early as 10 years ago, the popular thing to do after Thanksgiving dinner (and the cleanup if you were the lucky household to host) was to get up the next morning, around 6 or 7 a.m., drive on over to the local department store and see what there was to buy in a tradition that started to be called, “Black Friday.”
Why black? Because this one shopping day created so much revenue for stores, it was the day that their books went from being in the red (debt) to being in the black (profit).
Since then, things have started to change, and not, we feel, for the better. A 6 a.m. opening became 5 a.m. Not to be outdone, the competitor started opening their doors at 4 a.m., then 3 a.m., 2 a.m., 1 a.m. and even midnight Black Friday.
Last year, the wave of tradition going wrong breached over the sea wall, spilling over into Thanksgiving Day with stores starting their deals and specials as early as 6 p.m.
The tidal wave has continued into this year as more and more stores have announced that, instead of giving their employees the day off to be with family and friends and to prepare for the onslaught of Black Friday customers, many are going to keep their doors open Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28 and start the deals even earlier. These businesses include K-mart, Target, Sears, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Macy’s, J.C. Penny, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart, to name a few.
Some of these stores will still wait until the evening to open, while others will operate Thanksgiving Day as if it were Aug. 28.
Some retailers have claimed with the, “holiday shopping season,” the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, cut down by six days, they need the extra time. If Black Friday is the single largest profit-making day of the year though, the eight extra hours should not matter in the grand scheme of attaining the all-mighty dollar.
It is not as if there is a competitive advantage to opening a day earlier because, as we have seen with every other promotion, once one company does it, everyone else falls in line and follows suit.
What will all of this mean? It mean these big box companies will force their employees to work on Thanksgiving Day. For a college student or young adult who needs their job in order to support themselves, they are put in a tough position because they fear losing their jobs but also yearn for the traditions and family bonding that comes with the traditional Thanksgiving. Really, if officials of these companies stepped back for a minute and considered the repercussions of their actions, they would see that putting their employees in this situation does not shed one ounce of positive light on either them or their companies.
Thanksgiving Day is — or should we say was — one of only two holidays that were still viewed in the world of retail with some level of reverence and solemnity, along with Christmas Day. They are the two days that you would never even think about going to the store because you knew that the store was closed so shop owners and employees could be where they belonged, at home with family and friends. Yes, Christmas has been over-commercialized as stores start their advertising blitzes and holiday music before kids have even put on their Halloween costumes, but the day in and of itself has always been seen as, “hands off,” the way Thanksgiving used to be, as well.
So, on Nov. 28, we encourage everyone to be where they belong, wherever family and friends are, enjoying the holiday. Worry about shopping the next day or thereafter because the dirty little secret is: if the product is still there, so are the deals touted by these retailers.