Black Friday is Looming, But So is Thursday

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Much has been made of the traditional Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping day known as Black Friday, and the “un-American” shift towards Black Thursday (or whatever they will eventually call it). With each passing year and each growing expense, more and more retailers are looking to Thursday as their day to open the doors, delay their turkey dinners, and cash in on some holiday shoppers looking to get the best bargains. Some shoppers are angered by the blatant disregard for family values of gathering around a table to a roasted turkey, dressing, unwanted relatives from out of town, and the nonsense of shopping on such a blessed day. Or something like that. Others are excited to get a jump on shopping, knowing that the other shoppers will be in that Norman Rockwell scene while they can get as many fluffy, squeezy, buzzword toys as they want without as many bruises and without as much stress. Still, it’s the retailers that get the target of the blame. Finger pointing goes towards them for greed, selfishness, and the mistreatment of employees – forcing them to work on the day of the big parade. The often overlooked factor, though, is that these retailers are trying to catch up – not necessarily get ahead. With ecommerce becoming more and more prevalent for shoppers, the deals aren’t as competitive as they used to be. Savvy shoppers and the key Millenial shoppers are finding it much more convenient to shop online, curled up on a warm sofa sipping coffee from their Keurig as opposed to lead blocking down the hallways of a mall or boutique. So, the retailers have to be unique. They have to step up or step out. This year it’s Kmart and larger stores. But small, local shops are paying attention. As any good small shop trying to compete does, it “drafts” like a Nascar. That is, they think, “Let the big corporate guys make the move and set the trend, then we’ll follow suit.” So in a few years, we may just see more and more Thanksgiving day sales from the local hardware shop or that candle place past Main Street (every town has a candle shop,right?). Is it a sin to shop or is it a sin to be open for Thanksgiving? Or is it a sin to not compete for business? Hate the player or hate the game? Time will tell, but some folks here think that it’s a trend that will be hard to curtail if sales are anywhere near “good” in a couple of weeks. If Black Friday and Cyber Monday can’t propel the small retail shops from red to black in the wake of corporate giants, Thursday may be the shot worth taking. We’re not taking sides, but we will remind you this: remember way back in the day when it was unheard of to shop on Sunday? There is an eloquent line in the movie That Thing You Do! (Tom Hanks) where the owner of the family-business (appliance store) notices a competitor’s ad in the paper that promotes their new hours on Sundays. He grimaces and says, “I don’t believe I wanna live in a country where you have to be open on Sunday to do business. You shouldn’t have to work on Sunday to support a family, should you?” Well…we know how that ended.
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