Where has this year gone? Thanksgiving is once again upon us, giving us an excuse to catch up with family and friends and overeat to our heart’s content.
But something’s changed in the last few years. It’s no longer just about the turkey and pumpkin pie. Now, we have the option to go shopping – yes, even on Thanksgiving. Lucky us.
For some time now, the day after Thanksgiving has been the day to grab a bargain. The term ‘Black Friday’ has been in place since the 1960s, and has always marked the start of the Christmas shopping season. The ‘black’ refers to the stores making a profit as opposed to being in the red. But in the last few years, Black Friday has really taken off, with stores falling all over themselves to get as many people through the door – or on their website – as possible. Sometimes they even offer door buster deals that will actually make a loss. For the consumers’ part, they’re happy to snap up deals – and sometimes each other’s arms – that are even better than the ones on offer in the last minute pre-Christmas sales.
But now the stores are taking things to a new level. Whereas they used to open their doors as early as 6am on Black Friday, then 5am and even 4am, some have been opening up so early as to encroach onto Thanksgiving itself.
Last year saw millions of dollars made on Thanksgiving Day, but the commercial upside was accompanied by a considerable negative sentiment; that making money on Thanksgiving Day just didn’t seem right. The idea of employees being removed from their families and being asked to man cash registers was commonly seen as distasteful and there was a widely held feeling that Thanksgiving should be allowed to remain sacred. Of course, there will always be a market for those that do want to shop, hence why Black Friday has blurred into Thursday.
The negativity seen in 2013 has meant that there will be some holding back on an early start to Black Friday. The likes of Dillard’s, Burlington and REI will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving, no doubt to the delight of their employees. These businesses can expect goodwill from the section of the public that stands against what they view as another victory of capitalism over traditionalism. Still, companies like Target and Wal-Mart are pressing ahead with their Thanksgiving opening plans, though in some cases they will attempt to staff their stores with those that volunteer to work rather than calling on those that would rather be at home.
I’m on the side of those that feel that one day without shopping can’t be a bad thing, and that some traditions should be upheld. Though I realize we are now living in a more commercial world, sometimes it’s easy to pine for the so-called ‘good ole days’.
Whether stores decide to open on Thanksgiving itself, you can absolutely guarantee that Black Friday will continue to be a mad day in the world of retail. There will be elbows out, arguments between shoppers and a phenomenal number of people in stores and online trying to get their hands of the deal of the year – a phenomenal amount of dollars will be made too.
If you’re heading out to the sales, here’s to hoping you get what you’re after. Good luck out there…!