Shopping malls and other retail stores have decided to move up the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, from the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, to Thursday evening. It’s a bad decision and one we hope readers will reject.
Why would mega-retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target and Younkers, among others, want to intrude on one of America’s most cherished family days? “The theory is that while conventional Black Friday specials will continue to lure customers, post-dinner shopping might be a great way for many consumers to cap off the holiday,” says a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, adding that people who abhor the Black Friday atmosphere “might love a shopping excursion on Thanksgiving evening.”
A survey by the National Retail Federation found that nearly one-fourth of Black Friday shoppers surveyed said they would shop on Thanksgiving. Given that the holiday season accounts for 20 percent of all retail industry annual sales, according to the retail federation, it’s no surprise that more holiday shopping days — i.e., more opportunities for profit — are in high demand.
In reality, shopping for Christmas 2013 could begin the day after Christmas 2012. So why intentionally take away a holiday evening meant for family bonding and football?
It’s a question that one mall employee from Green Bay, Amber Baumgart, asked.
Baumgart works at a store in the Bay Park Square Mall and was upset to learn about the decision by mall owners, Simon Property Group, to open the Green Bay mall and all of their other malls on Thanksgiving evening.
“Shouldn’t malls, which are family-friendly establishments, have good morals and standards that fully support the American family and their values?” asked Baumgart. “This is a time for families to come together and enjoy a meal. To catch up. To have fun. Why are mall employees any different?”
Baumgart started an online petition, one of 12 nationwide, on Change.org asking Simon Property to return to its Black Friday schedule and allow mall employees to enjoy the day with their families.
By Tuesday, Nov. 19, more than 18,000 people signed Baumgart’s petition.
It’s only a matter of time before retail stores and malls open their holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving Day morning. The only way to prevent this is to encourage businesses to leave their doors closed on Thanksgiving. How? By staying home next Thursday. Consumers ultimately have the last word.
Once everybody accepts Thanksgiving as a shopping day, there will be no going back, says Dick Seesel, owner of Retailing in Focus, a company from Mequon that helps retailers to grow profitable sales.
“You are going to get to where the only thing left for stores to do is to open all day Thursday,” Seesel told the Journal Sentinel. “Every time people have expressed concern about the commercialization of the holiday — whether early openings or midnight openings or so on — retailers seem to be full speed ahead.”
This Thanksgiving, let’s not allow commercialism to make turkeys out of us. Let’s stay home and avoid the malls.