November 12, 2011

I guess if you build it they really will come...

The deals of Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) have been a part of American life for many years now, with some people camping out all night in the cold to be among the first to grab special early morning deals.  In recent years there have been reports of violence erupting, which I suspect that in these tough economic times might continue as cash-strapped customers desperate to provide a nice holiday for their children go to extremes.

This year the stores themselves can be accused of going to extremes.  Some stores, like Kmart and Toys R Us, have been open on Thanksgiving Day in recent years during morning and afternoon hour, offering bargains to lure shoppers in.  This year more stores than ever are moving up their store openings to midnight on Black Friday:  Target, Macy's, Best Buy, and Kohl's among them.  Walmart, not to be beaten, is opening stores as early as 10PM Thanksgiving night.

I personally don't think this is a good idea.  Not only does it rob the store employees of the opportunity to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with their families and friends, but it also cuts into consumer family life, with people excusing themselves after that apple pie a la mode to go to bed until it's time to get up to go shopping.  So much for after-dinner conversation.  I did all my shopping online last year after Thanksgiving and got wonderful bargains and free shipping to my local store...and I didn't even have to get dressed to do it.

There's a thin line between a desire to be first and a fanatical drive to do so.  I mean, isn't 4 and 5AM early enough?  Must stores really feel it necessary to cut into the actual Thanksgiving holiday?

Of course, if no one showed up the stores would have no reason to open so early.  As Thanksgiving weekend approaches, I find myself thinking, wouldn't it be a victory for home and hearth if the stores opened at 10PM and midnight and no one showed up until 5AM?

I know, I know.  Fat chance of that happening.  But I find it a lovely thought nonetheless...

Will you be shopping in the stores on Black Friday?