Advocating for Thanksgiving

You’ve seen the ads, with stores now giving you the option of coming in on Thursday to get low, low prices. While that news may send the coupon-clippers who camp out hours before the doors open into a frenzy, I’m sure the new schedule is disappointing to the families of those who actually have to check these crazy shoppers out.

Now they have to prepare all the trimmings, clear off that dusty table, and coordinate travel arrangements for a Thanksgiving lunch in order to accommodate the poor souls who have to report to work that afternoon. I’ve even heard some families debate whether they would gather at all, since half the table will leave to go to the mall anyway!

“Thanksgiving” is an American holiday. For us to be represented on that day by people trampling over each other to save $10 is embarrassing. As an advocate for celebrating each holiday individually, the fact that we are rearranging Thanksgiving Day to make room for Christmas
discounts makes me sick.

Fortunately I am not alone in my frustration at our country’s greed. Jodie Ferguson is an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s business school. She recently told the LA Times that retailers need to tread carefully into the arena of opening for business on Thanksgiving, since consumers on social media won’t hesitate to voice their displeasure.

“In the past, brick-and-mortar stores had stayed away from opening during the day,” she said. “If retailers engage in a practice that’s not common, consumers might deem that action as unfair.”
There’s even a Facebook group titled, “Say No to Shopping on Thanksgiving,” that has over 40,000 members. Their mission statement: “Show retailers you care more for family and friends. Stay home on Thanksgiving with your family.”

Not every retailer is getting caught up in the hype. Two stores, Costco and Nordstrom, vowed this week to leave Thanksgiving alone and stay closed on Thanksgiving Day. Paul Latham is a Vice President at Costco, and told the Huffington Post, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend
Thanksgiving with their families.”

Here’s a friendly reminder for those of us who celebrate their stance, don’t forget to spend your money with them as a thank you every other day of the year.

There is the argument stores wouldn’t open if customers didn’t show up, and that we as a society are dictating this new trend to non-stop shop. According to research firm ShopperTrak, sales on Thanksgiving were $810 million last year, an increase of 55 percent from the previous year.

A spokeswoman for Best Buy, which will be open on Thanksgiving Day, told the
Dallas Morning News, “Customers clearly showed that they wanted to be out shopping much
earlier on Thanksgiving. Our plan this holiday is a direct result of that feedback.”

We’ll see if this trend continues in the years to come. But it is a shame we no longer have time to go over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. We’re too busy changing into our khakis and grabbing a turkey sandwich to go, so we won’t be late for work.