Happy Thanksgiving ... Now Get to Work
As I was on the couch watching football Sunday afternoon (I know, tough day), I couldn't help but notice the number of retailers advertising that their stores would be open this coming Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Yep, Thursday, not Black Friday. While Black Friday has long been viewed as the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season, getting the frenzy started on Thanksgiving is a rather new development. A development that I find sad.
As I prepare to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family this Thursday (can't beat a day where my job is to eat turkey and watch football), thousands of store associates, warehouse staff and countless other retail employees won't be afforded the same luxury. And I ask myself why?
Now, I know there are some jobs that come with the sacrifice of having to work holidays — police officers, firefighters, hospital staff, military personnel, among others — but a cashier at Sears doesn't immediately come to mind. Does Old Navy really need to be open? I guess consumers can't live without the latest fleece pullover until Friday morning.
Now there's plenty of blame to go around on this one. First, there's the retailers themselves, who must cash in every dollar possible, even if it means overlooking the happiness of their employees. In addition to Sears and Old Navy, Wal-Mart, Big Lots and Kmart will all be open on Thanksgiving. Would it be too much to ask to just have your stores closed on this one day? I'm sure you could find some creative promotion to drive consumers to your website to make up for the lost brick-and-mortar store sales. Think of your employees, not just your bottom lines.
But consumers don't get away unscathed, either. These retailers certainly wouldn't be opening if the demand wasn't there. Relax and take the day off from shopping. Spend time with your friends and family this Thanksgiving. Trust me, the deals are going to be there bright and early come Friday morning. And if you really must shop on Thanksgiving, do it online. Remember, those store employees have families of their own, too.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.