Christmas on Thanksgiving: Black Friday Might as Well be Black Thursday
Black Friday is the day that we all know as the big shopping day after Thanksgiving, most retail workers, however, refer to it as hell.
Years ago, Black Friday, labeled as such because it usually takes businesses “out of the red and into the black” for the year, started at 3:00 am but retail stores have been creeping their hours forward, so much so that last year, Black Friday started at midnight on Thursday. Most stores have already received Christmas decorations and seasonally appropriate merchandise; K-Mart even released a commercial about Christmas Layaway in late September involving a life-size gingerbread cookie stalking a woman in her office with an unidentified man doing a voiceover and says “Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you.”
Target already has Christmas wreaths and lights in their seasonal department next to the Halloween Candy in the store.
East end Target’s Halloween/Christmas display
Every year, retailers create problems and pressure on the consumers to shop earlier and receive “deals” for the holiday season. Marketers have been building up anticipation for bargain hunting and holiday shopping with the aid of unique television commercials, which largely appealed to humor to induce a good feeling about a shopping trip that most people associate with stress. The result: the largest number of Black Friday shoppers ever recorded. CNN Money released a report after Black Friday 2012, which said about $59 billion was spent over the four-day weekend, due to the (estimated) 247 million Americans who shopped online and in stores – a 21 million person increase from Black Friday 2011.
Retailers are expecting this same kind of increase for the upcoming Black Friday, encouraging their local store fronts to push back their opening times even further to about 11:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Night.
Target opened up at 9:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Night last year and Macy’s wants to follow suit. According to the Consumerist, Macy’s polled their employees about opening at 8:00 p.m. but Macy’s has not officially released their Black Friday times for this year yet. More and more stores like Macy’s have been reconsidering their Black Friday opening time, Toys R’ Us and Wal-Mart have already scaled back until 8:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Night. Stimulating the economy sounds nice but what about the employees?
While it is true that many retail stores employs thousands of workers during the Holiday Season, most stores won’t hire someone unless they can work on Black Friday and many of those new employees will not retain their jobs after 90 days of being hired because the company will no longer have “the budget” for it. The employees also have to deal with unruly crowds who, over the years, have trampled employees, pepper sprayed a crowd and most commonly have horrible attitudes once in a checkout line all before digesting their Pumpkin pie.
It is no surprise that employees are fighting back against the push for earlier opening times. Casey St. Clair started a petition via Change. Org to ask Target’s CEO, Gregg W. Steinhafel, to “take the high road” and keep Thanksgiving Day a holiday and allow the employees to spend time with their families. The petition since started has reached over 300,000 signatures. Wal-Mart employees planned a strike under the organization named OUR (Organization United for Respect) Wal-Mart last year and demanded fair pay and hours for the millions of Wal-Mart employees who keep the store running during Black Friday.
We’ll leave you to ponder the issue with this amazing tweet and a question:
Black friday: because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.
— Sarcasm (@ComedyPosts) November 21, 2012
What do you think about stores pushing their store times back to accommodate higher sales for Black Friday?
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