Fighting the Black Friday Creep
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us are wrapping up our shortened work weeks, getting travel plans in order and finalizing dinner menus. Retailers on the other hand are ramping up for one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Black Friday has long been known as one of the busiest and most profitable days of the year and it's been common for stores to open in the early morning hours to capitalize on the anticipated crowds.
In recent years, however, Black Friday has slowly encroached on the Thanksgiving holiday itself and this year a number of retailers, including Macy's, Target, Walmart, Toys 'R' Us and RadioShack, are boasting store openings as early as 6:00pm on Thursday. While shopaholics will rejoice, the unfortunate reality is that thousands of retail employees across the country will have to cut their holiday short. This has prompted widespread backlash, including a number of petitions from consumers who believe retailers have lost sight of the holiday's meaning and are instead being driven by greed.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, several stores, such as Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble and Costco, among others, have very publicly noted that they will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving. If I'm putting my PR hat on, this seems like a carefully crafted move. But regardless of the motivation, these retailers are demonstrating firm support of their employees enjoying the holiday with family and friends.
As the daughter of a nurse and journalist (jobs that unfortunately don't stop when the holidays roll around), I spent many Thanksgivings sans mom and dad so I can empathize with the families that will be affected by these early store openings. And from a reputational standpoint, I can't imagine that sacrificing the true meaning of the holiday for a one-day boost to the bottom line is worth it. For me, Thanksgiving has always been more about turkey, football and soaking up quality time with family and friends than snagging a deal on a flat screen TV and hopefully more retailers will embrace the true spirit of the holiday season in years to come.