Holidays are for quality time with family and friends, sharing good food, laughter, love and joy–not for shopping.
According to a recent 21st Allstate/NationalJournal/HeartlandMonitor poll, among Americans currently employed, one in four are required to work over the holidays, to the dismay and frustration of the workers and their families. Major stores now open Thanksgiving evening (right when the rest of us settle in for a tryptophane, wine and sugar facilitated mellow with loved ones, or sit down to a late evening dinner), so shoppers can get “a head start on black Friday?”
As a non shopper (I subscribe to the need and targeted shopping policy–you determine what you need, identify one location that offers it, go in, buy it and get out ASAP), I cannot relate to the whole shopping frenzy thing people get into. But studying the issue I discovered that as I suspected (using critical thinking and a reasonableness standard), most of the myths about “Black Friday” are just that, myths:
Myth #1: For Best Deals you Must Shop on Black Friday
According to a study commissioned by The Wall Street Journal, Black Friday isn’t always the lowest price holiday shopping day of the year that it’s hyped up to be. As it turns out, for example, men’s watches are better purchased in March, and October is the best month in which to purchase big screen TV’s. Some retailers will match the competition prices for Black Friday a week before, and some of the best deals are sold out by the time Black Friday rolls around.
Myth #2: You Have to Deal with Pushy Annoying Crowds on Black Friday
Yes there will be crowds, but your chances of being trampled on or getting injured are very slim. If you are in a store on Thanksgiving/Black Friday (in addition to not seeing me there), you are a shopper and should be used to dealing with other shoppers like yourself. If that works for you, you are unlikely to encounter additional distress due to the day.
Myth #3: High End, Expensive Items Don’t go on Sale
Discounts will be available, to a certain extent, in all retailers since everyone wants to try and get some of that business. Typically, Black Friday sales involve low to mid range merchandise but you will also find discounts at the high end stores, albeit to a lesser extent.
Myth #4: Stores Will Entice you With Plenty of Doorbusters
Unless you are there very early, the doorbusers (extremely low priced items used by retailers to generate a buzz), might just be gone, since they are usually available in limited quantity (early bird and all that).
Myth #5: Ads List All Black Friday “Good Deals”
Some of the main retailers (Best Buy, Target and Walmart) offer supplemental Black Friday promotions that are not in their ads. Instead, these “secret discounts” are offered typically online, which is where you will find them before hitting the actual stores. In addition, retailers also often respond to the competition by introducing last minute reductions to try and capture additional business.
Myth #6: For Better Deals Wait for Cyber Monday
There are deals to be found on Black Friday and deals to be found on Cyber Monday. Important to note that deals are also to be found throughout the year (around Christmas and other main shopping holidays) and some of the best ones are online, usually starting Thanksgiving morning. In short, you can relax at home and shop online instead of waiting for hours for stores to open their doors on Thanksgiving.
So why are some large and small retailers insisting their employees break away from their families on holidays and come to work? The simple explanation is giving shoppers more availability of shopping days. Howard Davidowitz, a retail analyst and consultant, told the Huffington Post
“It’s a sign of desperation. In order to take business from someone else, you’ve got to create a sense of urgency, got to have more sales, got to have more, earlier doorbusters.”
Zeynep Ton, professor of operations management at MIT asked
“Who actually benefits from this craziness? Retailers get a temporary sales lift from offering deep discounts. But opening stores on a holiday often means they pay employees time and half. And it’s unlikely that opening stores earlier makes people spend more for holiday shopping; they just spend more that day and less on other days.”
There are many retailers open for Thanksgiving and many doing the right thing and giving their employees the day off.
Hall of Fame – Stores closed on Thanksgiving
1. DSW – In a statement on their Facebook page, they indicated they believe family comes first so they will be closed for Thanksgiving and open 7 a.m. Friday.
2. Nordstrom – “We like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.”
3. Dillard’s – “We choose to remain closed on Thanksgiving in longstanding tradition of honoring our customers and associates time with family.
4. Costco – “Employees should spend the holiday with their families.”
5. BJ’S – CEO “Maybe call me old-fashioned, but I feel that it’s an easy decision to make [to stay closed on Thanksgiving].”
6. Burlington Coat Factory – Second year they are closed for the holiday.
7. REI – Staying closed this year.
8. American Girl – Closed.
9. Crate and Barrel – Closed.
10. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores – CEO Travis Smith–closed “Out of respect to our team members and their families.”
11. T.J. Maxx – Spokeswoman Doreen Thompson “We feel strongly about our employees spending Thanksgiving with their families.”
12. Marshalls – Owned by T.J. Maxx, so closed as well.
13. Pier 1 Imports – Closed.
14. Publix – Closed.
15. Sierra Trading Post – Confirmed closed on Facebook page Boycott Black Friday.
16. Barnes & Noble – “We will be closed Thanksgiving day, November 27, so our booksellers can be with their family and friends.”
17. Sam’s Club – Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
18. Home Depot – Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
19. Patagonia – “It’s a holiday–we’re closed.”
Hall of Shame – Stores open on Thanksgiving
2. Kmart – Open 6 a.m. Thanksgiving.
3. Cracker Barrel – Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thanksgiving.
4. Radio Shack – Open 8 a.m., closed between noon and 5 p.m. Thanksgiving (bizarre response to public pressure).
5. J.C. Penny – Open 5 p.m. Thanksgiving, as will Best Buy and Toys R Us.
6. Macy’s – Open 6 p.m. Thanksgiving.
7. Target, Kohl’s and Sears open 6 p.m. Thanksgiving.
As consumers, we have a responsibility to express our opinion and humanity with our wallet. Spending time with family and friends on holidays is a very important part of mental health and happiness (some of it depends on the family, obviously). It is a time to take a break form life’s often hectic and difficult daily grind, reconnect with loved ones, share good food, joy and laughter and celebrate life. We all deserve that opportunity, and with the exception of some of us who provide critical functions and services, the rest of us should be home for the holidays. Surely, shopping can wait till after.