News flash, retailers: There’s a reason that mosh pit of rock-bottom deals and rampant consumerism is called Black Friday — it occurs on Friday.
That scheduling detail is being ignored by major merchants this season. In a desperate retail free-for-all bid for consumers’ holiday shopping budgets, stores are jumping the gun by adjusting their store hours to get Black Friday going early.
Is Thursday the New Black Friday?
Given current economic troubles in the U.S., retailers know it may be a tough slog to get consumers to spend money at their establishments. So they’re doing more than price-slashing to drum up enthusiasm. They’re tempting shoppers away from the Thanksgiving feast with pre-door-buster door-buster deals.
Although technically sticking to tradition, Target (TGT) is set to open at midnight. Officially, that is Friday, unless you’re an employee who has to be there hours early to prepare. Other Grinches stomping on Thanksgiving are Kohl’s (KSS), Best Buy (BBY), and Macy’s (M), all of which are opening at midnight as well.
Then there’s Walmart (WMT).
Walmart has announced it plans to start devouring Thanksgiving by opening its doors at 10 p.m. on Thursday. Now Toys R Us is attempting to one-up Walmart: Doors open at 9 p.m. Next thing you know, some desperate retailer’s going to announce they’re opening exactly at dinnertime. (Sears and Kmart, perhaps? Just kidding. Let’s hope they’re not thinking of skipping turkey to head into work.)
Here’s a Doggie Bag for Your Turkey Dinner
Beyond perfectly common-sense arguments against a retail push into Thanksgiving Day (friends shouldn’t let friends shop when they’re doped up on tryptophan or have imbibed a little too much holiday cheer), there’s another really sobering reason we should give all the rampant consumerism a break. These retailers’ workers are virtually guaranteed to have their Thanksgiving celebrations cut short, maybe even ruined, by Black Friday’s unfashionably early arrival.
Yes, some consumers will relish an excuse to duck out of Turkey Day’s often satirized dysfunctional family functions. Still, retailers shouldn’t be giving consumers that easy out — or yet another day to put consumerism ahead of things that really matter, like family, togetherness, and appreciating the blessings we do have, even in these tough times. Look, retailers: The sales can wait just a few more hours.
Motley Fool analyst Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Wal-Mart Stores. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart Stores, writing covered calls in Best Buy, and creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores.