It’s Thanksgiving! Let’s Not Go Shopping!

Thanks to hotelchatter.com

Was it really necessary to start Black Friday a few hours earlier into Thanksgiving? According to an article by the New York Times posted Sunday, opening stores on Thanksgiving diluted Black Friday sales.

“The early promotions and early openings on Thursday drew some of the sales that would normally land on Friday into Thursday,” Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, told the New York Times. “What we’re going to start looking at is the ‘Black Weekend,’ a four-day weekend.”

Will this cause the retailers who opened their doors on Thanksgiving to re-think their strategy? I hope so, but I doubt it.

Ironically, the store that brings the country the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was not open on Thanksgiving. To the retailer’s CEO, Terry J. Lundgren, Thanksgiving is about family and of course, the retailer’s Thanksgiving parade. He placed a higher value on allowing more employees to have the day off to be with their families instead of trying to bag extra sales. If anything, the retailer could be more tempted to be open to the thousands who attend the parade.

Good for him. And good for Macy’s.

His patience seemed to have paid off. When Macy’s opened its flagship Manhattan store at Midnight, deal hunters quickly filled in record numbers.

Could it be that his stance turned out to be the best marketing approach after all? Could it be that this act of goodwill became a brilliant public relations strategy?

That is not the only thing Macy’s is doing right while other merchants are struggling. Despite a pullback yesterday, its stock continues to outperform the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group.

The merchant that has given us the tradition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is also one that is helping to preserve the holiday. The CEO was upholding an important part of Thanksgiving that money cannot buy:  spending time with loved ones. Such time is harder to find amid longer workweeks necessary to stay employed and purchase Christmas presents.

_____________

To protest the retailers who opened their stores on Thanksgiving,
I am pledging not to purchase anything from these stores this Christmas.

____________

My suspicion is that Macy’s will do just fine this year sans being open on Thanksgiving. Citing figures from the National Retail Federation, the Times reported that average Thanksgiving weekend spending for retail in general rose from $423 from $398 last year. With the average family income on decline and double-digit unemployment in many areas of the country, the only explanation is consumers bought on credit. And that is just what this country needs, more personal debt along with growing Federal debt.

I am sad that a holiday President Lincoln set aside during the Civil War for Americans to count their blessings is becoming shopping day. (see http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm) Given the recent election, it is clear our nation is deeply divided once again.

Given this, it seems to me that Americans need a day to come together and count our blessings more than another shopping day. But alas, I have been called old-fashioned before.

To protest the retailers who opened their stores on Thanksgiving, I am pledging not to purchase anything from these stores this Christmas. Please consider doing the same.

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