A reader requested last week that I take some time to discuss the current climate of the retail sector and it’s attitude towards Thanksgiving in a, “fact-based article.” I couldn’t deny that it was a topic that fell in several of my wheel houses, so I agreed to give it a go.
For those not in the know, several big name stores started moving up their Black Friday sales to Thanksgiving Day. The logic of this change is that retailers are afraid that most of the spending cash that people have will be gone by Friday.
But this movement has been met with quite a bit of disgust by employees and consumers alike who believe that holidays like Thanksgiving should be spent with family according to interviews by WCPO.
Of course, it seems that many stores share the sentiment. As a result, the list of retailers that refuse to open on Thanksgiving Day trump the list that will and continues to grow. Even GameStop, a retailer that I despise as a gamer (note to self: consider writing a take-down article on GameStop in the future), earned some respect from me by giving their workers the day to stay with their families.
The fact of the matter is this; the entire concept of the Thanksgiving/Black Friday sale is antiquated and obsolete. The advent of modern telecommunications and online shopping renders the need to camp outside of stores for hours and trample people to death (Seriously, check out the stories. It’s a damn horror show) completely unnecessary.
And what about the fears of people running out of disposable income before the sales? Well, most Americans tend to get paid biweekly on a Friday. So, wouldn’t you think that the best time to go for someone’s wallet would be that coming Saturday – usually the second or fourth one of the month? That’s when people have the most cash to spend AND when they are actively looking to spend it.
Now, I am willing to give a few businesses a pass on staying open on Thanksgiving and other holidays. After all, the grocery stores need to provide those last minute fixings for the family dinner they forgot about. Also, speaking as someone who works in the hospitality industry at a local inn/spa, families rejoining across states or even countries need a place to stay. That being said, there are ways to give everyone what they want.
Using myself as an example, everyone has to work on thanksgiving at the inn. However, we are given the opportunity to choose when we would like to come in (seniority has first dibs, naturally) and we all only have to work for half of our normal shift. What’s more, we earn double our normal rate of pay for our trouble.
So, in terms of the counter-response to this ‘Black Thursday’, I’m glad to see so many people joining in on the movement. Many of us do the work we do to support our families to begin with, so it stands that we should be given time to enjoy the company of the people we work for on the days when it matters most.