Nothing says Christmas like thousands, no make that MILLIONS of shoppers, huddled against glass doors - crushing one another to near death - in order to get inside some store at 5, 6 or 7 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving to buy that bargain-priced off-brand DVD player, or “Leak My Undercover Job” Elmo.
As one who hates the process of shopping (I enjoy buying things, but I abhor the languid exercise of going from store to store to get Lord knows what), I avoid “Black Friday” as much as possible. Economists use that term to describe the day after Thanksgiving as the moment retailers find their bottom lines move into the black – or revenue positive territory.
I hide under blanket and recipes for turkey leftovers, choosing to watch Texas slide past Texas A&M in football or any movie on cable TV. Anything but facing those crowds.
But for all those stupid enough to stand out in the cold and pitch black darkness for hours, the employees of all those stores were forced to awaken far earlier than usual, drive half asleep and find parking spaces in lots that filled faster than wine glasses at a special Merlot tasting. The mayhem starts earlier and earlier and earlier … to the point of absurdity.
No one thinks about those people, but I do. And it’s not fair! I think that sentiment stands on its own two feet.
So I got curious and did a quick survey of when the major retailers were to open on Black Friday.
Here is a rundown of the door opening times last Friday, based on every major advertising insert in the Thursday, Nov. 24 edition of the Dallas Morning News.
5 a.m. – Fry’s Electronics, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, JC Penney.
5:30 a.m. – Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods
6 a.m. – Sears, Micro Center, Conn’s, JoAnn, CVS Pharmacy, Radio Shack, Office Depot, Bass Pro Shops, Target, Cabela’s, Linen ‘n Things, Michael’s, Macy’s, Toys R Us, Staples, Home Depot, Foley’s.
7 a.m. – Ulta, Academy, Office Max, Dillards, Mardel, Old Navy, Greta Indoors, Game Stop.
8 a.m. – SteinMart, Car Toys, Elliott’s Hardware
9 a.m. – Walgreen’s
11:59 p.m. (Thursday) – CompUSA (a 24-hour sale)
Just who is the world needs to be at a CompUSA at 12:25 a.m. to buy ANYTHING???
Open all day Thursday – Big Lots, Kmart.
Thank goodness Kmart has left the Texas market because it should be run out of town because of that kind of business practice. No one should have to work on Thanksgiving (to entice people to SHOP) except at essential public safety jobs, restaurants (if they choose to open for special Thanksgiving Day meals) or the odd convenience store where someone needs more chips.
But a place like Big Lots should be ashamed of itself, to promote itself as open on Thanksgiving simply to get people to buy their discontinued junk. The increasing attraction of the Internet stems from the discounts and the absence of the mob scenes at stores. There are no lines, no rude clerks and no nasty people pushing and shoving and being just plain obnoxious.
People should make it a rule never to darken the halls of stores with such practices at any time of the year. And like anything else in the American business climate, if people want change to happen, they need to do it by staying away from that store, or product, in droves. It will continue until retailers deem it unprofitable to do so.
And perhaps our lives will return to some sort of normalcy.