Retailers are sparking various degrees of outrage by opening on Thanksgiving, and there’s evidence that doing so doesn’t even help their bottom lines. In fact, it might even hurt them — by pushing big sales ever-earlier in November, stores actually cause a lull in shopping in December. After all, sales or no sales, there’s a finite amount of money people can and will spend.
If that’s the case, there’s little to no point of opening on a national holiday. The biggest Black Friday news this year is the threatened strike by Walmart workers. Granted, they’re mostly using the shopping fever pitch associated with this particular weekend to try to address grievances they face all year round. However, all stores who open on Thanksgiving will have to drag in associates to do so, and whether or not those employees are happy for the added day, they’re required to make overtime for working the holiday. If moving up sales doesn’t even help retailers, having to pay employees more than usual is an added blow. Why are retailers doing this? It costs more, it makes workers unhappy, the public doesn’t seem to respect it, and it doesn’t increase total profits.
Though it might make us sound old-fashioned, we think opening for sales on Thanksgiving is a little tacky and totally futile. (And we don’t even like turkey.) We respect retailers like Nordstrom, whose posted signage about staying closed on Thanksgiving is already over 26,000 “likes” on Facebook. Once the post-holiday numbers are in, it’ll be interesting to see who was hurt and who wasn’t by waiting for Black Friday to, well, start Black Friday.