Thanksgiving is quite possibly the best holiday of the year to spend quality time with family, friends, food, and football. But a lot of folks likely remember the newest addition to the Thanksgiving day lineup in recent years: pre-Black Friday shopping. A few major companies like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s (and many others) decided to get a jump-start on Black Friday (which is a jump-start on Christmas, of course) by opening their doors on the holiday. Thankfully, one company, Staples, is leading the way in scaling back their holiday shopping by shutting down stores in honor of Thanksgiving Day.
That’s right, if you’re looking to be the first in line to stock up on cases of HammerMill copy paper, or a lifetime supply of Post-Its, you’ll just have to wait until the rooster’s call at 6:00am on Black Friday. The push comes as a response to the last few years of scheduling store employees on what was traditionally a well-deserved day of vacation to celebrate with family and friends. Though reports exist of people who did volunteer to take Thanksgiving Thursday shifts, a few companies, such as Target and Kmart did not allow any employee to ask for the day off, going so far as to threaten termination.
As recently as a few months ago, many strides have been put in place to improve workers’ rights, including raising the minimum wage. Along with hopefully many others, I am one-hundred-percent pleased by this decision to give employees and shoppers a break (though that could be my bias towards this particular holiday, and a number of years spent in retail). Demos Parneros, Staples’ president of North American (and online) stores, released a statement describing the decision to give Thanksgiving back to the employees:
We want our customers and associates to enjoy Thanksgiving their own way.
But before everyone starts loading up the ticker-tape parade for the folks of Staples, consider the irony of keeping an office supplies retail store open during Thanksgiving, while nearly all of the customers who utilize Staples enjoy a relaxing day filled with turkey and stuffing. The fact that any retail company would make the push to be open at the heart of meal time during Thanksgiving shows a glaring lack of thought for the enjoyment of their employees.
Added to that, when the numbers came in for Thanksgiving Thursday shopping, trends indicated that if people had the opportunity to shop on Thanksgiving day, they actually went ahead and skipped Black Friday. Since crossing ‘Holiday Shopping’ is therefore taken care of in one day, there really isn’t any point in expanding the Quest for the Deal into a two day event. For that reason, why go overboard and be open on Thursday, and force your employees to spend the holiday at work?
Regardless of previous years of Thursday opens, Staples is making a stride to give back to the hard-working folks employed by the company. The fact that other companies are on their side is evidence that some retailers have realized they may have gone too far in creating the holiday shopping frenzy – since it means more people have to show up to work those days.
Hopefully this will eventually trickle down to other retailers, and allow for a shift back to ‘the holidays’ as a break, not a reason to spend all your money. Or we’ll end up with efforts similar to Kmart, who came out with this ad …back in September.
Never before was the phrase “Too Soon” more fitting.