The concept of Black Friday was the day most retailers go into the “black” as in, turn a profit. So in theory anything they sold from that day forward until the end of the year was profit. That was then. As we know many retailers are not profitable, J.C. Penny case in point. But now Black Friday is the official start of the shopping and sales season. And even that is changing with stores opening earlier and now for the past two years even opening on Thanksgiving. I personally think it’s disgraceful, and that’s coming from a hard core capitalist. Thanksgiving, whatever its original beginning has come to be a day of thankfulness. A true original North American tradition that now embraces all races, politics and religions. A day for family and friends. A day to share a meal with others less fortunate than you. A day of reflection.
At a major trade show Marshal Cohen chief industry analyst of The NPD Group, Inc. spoke about the great return from retailers who opened on Thanksgiving Day. They were all patting their backs, talking about what a great success it had been. “They sold more because of those extra hours than ever before.” But at what expense? I’ll tell you, at the expense of the employee who is now disgruntle, at the expense of margins (profit) and most important at the expense of human dignity. People cut short their Thanksgiving dinner to run and a save $100 on a flat screen TV? Interesting enough, this year I am already finding sales and deep discounts way before Black Friday. The best part without the interruption of dinner. And truly that “extra” money was just the same amount spent at the start of the season and less was then spent towards the end…meaning if I budgeted $100 for gifts and I spent it on Thanksgiving… I wasn’t going to spend more later…so if we look at the full amount spent during the season, I am almost sure it was the same in total dollars.
So why do people get up at the crack of dawn, leave Thanksgiving dinner early and deal with the madness? Is it really over price? Or is there something in our primitive human behavior of the hunt and kill? I am going to ask of you one favor. Do not shop on Thanksgiving. Brave Black Friday if you wish but don’t forget small business Saturday (avoid American Express) and ask a friend to enjoy their Thanksgiving at home.
Here is a link to help keep your employees (well not yours I’m sure, chains and discounters) alive during the Black Friday crush.