During a year in which nearly half of companies began their holiday marketing before Halloween even though 77 percent of American adults don’t think stores should even deck the halls before Black Friday, and at a time when more stores plan on opening their doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving, a few lone retailers are taking a stand to protect Turkey Day from the ever-expanding reaches of the Black Friday creep.
While not all Americans are annoyed by Thanksgiving’s slow metamorphosis into another day of frenzied bargain-hunting (the majority of millennials actually like the idea of wrenching themselves out of their food comas to shell out some early Christmas cash at crowded stores), some retailers are refusing to jump on the bandwagon, keeping their shops shut up until Black Friday, and releasing patriotic, family-friendly statements filled with good old-fashioned values.
“Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Nothing more complicated than that,” Paul Latham, Costco‘s vice president for membership and marketing, told The Huffington Post.
‘‘We believe it is important for our team members to be able to spend this time with their loved ones,’’ Travis Smith, CEO and president of Jo Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, said in a statement. The retailer plans to open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
B.J.’s Wholesale Club not-so-humbly said of its decision to remain closed on Thanksgiving, ‘‘Once again, BJ’s is bucking the trend of putting sales on Thanksgiving above family time.’’
While these statements aim to help those of us frustrated with the Black Friday creep feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it is also worth mentioning that many of the stores staying closed aren’t the types that tend to rely on Black Fridays sales anyway, so they might be managing to get the good family-values PR without necessarily sacrificing a day of major competition.
That said, even though I am technically a millennial, I am totally appreciative of the stores taking a stand against turning my family’s favorite holiday into a shopathon, whether or not they are sacrificing significant early sales to do so. But I’m clearly on one side of a very divisive issue, and the other side is wielding their wallets.
“There’s a PR benefit to holding out, just as there’s a PR benefit to opening early,” said Roger Beahm, a marketing professor at Wake Forest University. “We know that there is a consumer backlash to this.” But, we also know that retailers made $810 million last year, and the sad truth is, as more stores open, more will follow suit in order to compete.
How do you feel about this, readers? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving, or are you opposed to the whole idea? Keep an eye out for an upcoming reader poll on the issue; we’d love to hear from you!