Call us old-fashioned if you will, but we are growing more and more concerned with what we believe is a disturbing trend: big box retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving for early Christmas shopping.
Now, we have nothing against capitalism and someone trying to make a buck. But we especially feel sorry for those employees of stores like Kmart opening on Thanksgiving morning, and the likes of Best Buy, Macy’s and Target later on Thanksgiving afternoon and evening. More and more, “holidays” are becoming anything but for many Americans who now must work on days once reserved for family celebrations and spending time together.
Many Americans say they don’t care for the idea of stores being open on Thanksgiving. The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a poll in December 2013 on the subject. Many stores and malls were open on Thanksgiving last year, but 86 percent said that they didn’t shop on the holiday. About 61 percent of people polled said that non-essential stores should not have opened on Thanksgiving. And 42 percent of people who did go out and shop on Thanksgiving Day said that they “strongly agreed” that stores shouldn’t have opened.
If that many people disagreed with the concept, then what were they doing in stores to begin with? But we digress.
There is a growing grassroots movement lobbying to bring an end to such business practices. And if you like the idea of keeping Thanksgiving a holiday in the real sense, you’ll appreciate the fact that local retail companies including Washington-based Costco and Oregon’s very own Bi-Mart will be closed Thursday.
In fact Bi-Mart has been actively noting its intention to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day, with its advertising circular last week reading, in part, “Tradition is important to us and family has always taken priority in the way we do business. Thanksgiving is nearly here and Bi-Mart will, once again, close so that our employees may enjoy the holiday with their families.”
But based on the growing number of stores opening Thursday for pre-Black Friday shopping — which this year seemed to start a week before the traditional Black Friday after Thanksgiving Day — one can only image that the national trend isn’t about to go away anytime soon.
Consumers can have a big say in this practice by boycotting stores and electing to not shop on the holiday. Instead of spoiling Thanksgiving, why not wait one more day so you can thrill to the excitement of fighting the crowds at 5 a.m. on Black Friday for that $199 50-inch TV. Or, better yet, wait until Saturday and support local merchants on Small Business Saturday.
After all, if this goes on and on and becomes accepted practice, how much longer before stores open at noon on Christmas Day to start accepting returns and exchanges? Seriously.