Once upon a time, there was a holiday known as Thanksgiving. It fell between Halloween and Christmas, and we spent the day with family and friends. It held promises of Christmas being right around the corner, and it gave us a scheduled, deliberate day to slow down and enjoy the people and comforts we are fortunate enough to have. Then, at some point, something came along and devoured the beloved holiday like so many carved up turkeys. The culprit? Black Friday.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against Black Friday as a shopping event. In fact, I spent nearly twelve years in sales and management for a retailer that helped set the Black Friday bar to where it is today. But this trend over the last few years of opening on Thanksgiving? No. Just no. Black Friday needs to stay where it belongs. On Friday.
Let me make my case for why you should save your Shopping for Black Friday…
Really, how many days a year do we get to just relax and enjoy each other’s company? Stay home. Cook together. Eat together. Talk and laugh and make memories. This time is priceless guys. Soak it up! I know family can drive us crazy at times, but that’s why wine pairs well with turkey.
Deals last longer than they used to
I know very well how important it is to get the best deals. We all want to stretch our shopping budget as far as possible. But we’ve got more ways than before to do that. I remember year after year watching floods of people rush through the door to get the “doorbuster” deals as my store opened on Black Friday. The savings you got from those first few hours were some of the best you’d see all season. But that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Online shopping has made everyone more competitive, and that competition has given shoppers more deals throughout the entire season. Waiting doesn’t mean you miss out like you used to. Sometimes it means you actually get better items and better prices. And, sorry to say ladies and gentlemen, but there’s a reason that DVD player sells for $20. It’ll only last you until Valentine’s Day.
Retail workers need a break
Shopping on Thanksgiving for you means working on Thanksgiving for a LOT of people. Those employees don’t stroll into work an hour before you stroll into their store. They have already been there for hours. And they’ve been preparing for weeks for you to shop. They lose most of their holiday because they have to work on Thanksgiving. Yes, those stores are open anyway. But rest assured — if opening on Thanksgiving isn’t profitable for retailers, they won’t do it anymore. Our shopping habits make a difference here.
Christmas is next
It’s only a matter of time until some CEO figures out there is gift card money to be spent on Christmas Day. Then we can count on the commercialization of Christmas visiting itself on December 25. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems way over the line.
So say you’re still not convinced, or shopping on Thanksgiving has become a tradition for you, and you just can’t wait until Friday. If that’s the case, then at the very least, try these things out for me…
If you have the option, and there are local businesses open on Thanksgiving, head to those stores. They need your business more than the big box retailers, and you’ll be supporting someone in your own community.
Shop With Family
This can get tricky if you’re shopping for said family members, but if you are able, make shopping time family time as well.
Please, please be nice to retail workers. Seriously. I don’t care if they fall asleep on your shoulder while they’re handing you a KitchenAid stand mixer on sale for $15. Just stand really still for about ten minutes and let them sleep. Then go buy them some coffee. If the store is out of something you really wanted, don’t take it out on the cashier. It’s not his fault, and he probably ate four bites of turkey before running out the door to get to work. If your salesperson isn’t as enthusiastic as you’d like her to be, smile and thank her anyway. Keep in mind that these guys have been preparing for Black Friday since they walked into work on November 1, and they are in for another month of exhaustive work. Make sure to thank them for it! (And no – their paycheck isn’t thanks enough from you. Unless you’re the one paying them.)
Maybe this advice is easy for me to give. The years I spent in retail now make me cringe at the thought of walking out my front door on Thanksgiving … unless it’s to walk off all the food I ate.
Hopefully you’ll help send Black Friday back to Friday – where it belongs. But if you’ve just got to go on Thanksgiving, make sure to spread some holiday cheer while you’re out there.