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Diatribe: If You Go Shopping Today, You’re Part Of The Problem.

11/28/2013

No-Shopping-On-Thanksgiving-DayThere’s been a lot of whining and complaining about retail establishments opening earlier and earlier for their traditional “Black Friday” sales.  Many stores will be opening this evening, some as early as 5:00 p.m., causing widespread outrage among those who think it’s just awful that the “greedy corporations” are forcing their underpaid hourly workers to give up precious time with their families in order to line the company’s coffers.  Online petitions have been circulating for weeks hoping to send a message to big-box retailers that consumers find the new shopping hours to be a bad idea.

I say, quit whining and stay home.  If you go shopping today, you’re part of the problem.

Working “holiday hours” is an occupational hazard in the retail industry.  Anyone who makes a living working for a department store faces the reality that this simply comes with the territory and should not be surprised when they’re expected to work on the single busiest shopping day of the year.  There are also many part-time employees who appreciate the opportunity to earn some extra money during the holiday season and, I imagine, every additional hour that they are allowed to work is a welcome opportunity.

Farmers make hay while the sun is shining, a blacksmith must strike while the iron is hot, fishermen drop their nets when the school rise to the surface, and retailers open their doors when customers line up with their credit cards ready to spend.

The laws of supply and demand can rarely be outsmarted.  As long as folks line up at their doors, creating demand, retailers that do not offer a sufficient supply will not survive.  I, for one, will not be shopping this evening … and I never shop on Black Friday … but not because I think it’s terrible that retail associates don’t get to spend time with their families, but because the chaos that one encounters is rarely worth the savings that they might find.

So, if you’re one of the people who is upset by the fact that stores are opening this evening … stay home.  If nobody shows up at 5:00 p.m. to shop this Thanksgiving, odds will be better that department stores won’t open their doors at 5:00 p.m. next Thanksgiving.

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11 Comments
  1. The stores can open as many hours as they want but it won’t change the amount of money they have to spend or will spend – that is the true supply and demand. Second Black Friday being the busiest shopping day is misleading – it has the most shoppers but it is always the last Saturday before Christmas that is the biggest in actual $$$ in the register. ALWAYS! On that day people don’t shop they just buy. And with the extra hours – stores get lower SPH (sales per hour or money spent per hour) which is a very important number to Wall Street, they have much higher rates of shoplifting – I was working in a store (Carter’s) and people were walking out with armfuls of stuff and we were unable to stop them, and because the store put on ridiculous sales their profit margins are much lower. Then you have the employees who are already not the most motivated or well trained not selling, not helping, not cleaning and not knowing much but responsible for over 40% of store theft.

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    • Wow! That’s really interesting and makes a lot of sense. The number of shoppers really has little to do with the amount if money that’s spent, does it? Thanks for giving us more to think about.

      I’m still staying away from the mall!

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on I Am My Own Island and commented:
    Very insightful post with valid points. I have been guilty of this but this year I volunteered to be on call the whole Holiday so my co-workers can celebrate even if that means Black friday 😀

    Like

  3. Rick permalink

    Why does everyone feel differently about retail stores being open compared to restaurants & fuel stations?? Hospitals & hotels?

    Like

  4. Barneysday permalink

    Restaurants, fuel stations, hospitals and hotels have a long history of being open, in no small part because they are part of the service industry. Can you imagine having a heart attack and having to wait until Friday to go to the hospital? Or not being able to attend the family gathering because after traveling a great distance, there was no place to stay?

    Stores, however, have a choice, and were not expected to be open on Thanksgiving until only recently.

    Just a thought

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  5. Excellent point. Happy Thanksgiving, not shopping.

    Like

  6. I’m disgusted by the video of people rushing to get into these stores. The media is as bad as the retailers because they show images and do stories of people behaving this way which adds to the frenzy and supports retailers ideas that they must be open.

    The Black Friday tradition in our house is to spend the day at home, in our pajamas watching movies, reading books and snuggling with the cats.

    And, if one more person says there are 6 less days until Christmas, I’m going to go nuts. Christmas is still on the same date. There is no law that says you can’t begin Christmas shopping before Black Friday.

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    • Absolutely! The news reports certainly “fuel the frenzy” … but that’s the sort of publicity that keeps the fires burning.

      At our house, we do everything that we can do have all of our Christmas shopping finished BEFORE Black Friday. We might miss out on some sales, but we figure we have a better selection from which to choose, we don’t have to dig through piles of clothes that ignorant shoppers throw on the floor, we get to park closer to the door and we retain the majority of our sanity.

      Staying at home with movies and cats and a great way to spend the day! Good for you and yours! Enjoy!

      Like

  7. I agree with you in some respects – I have always believed customers vote with their dollars. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with encouraging other people to stay home too!

    Like

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