The death of Thanksgiving is upon us, and we must mourn its loss.
Although many would argue that Christmas is this forgotten holiday’s killer, ultimately, Black Friday is to blame for Turkey Day’s demise.
Remember in kindergarten, when you dressed up like a Pilgrim or Native American and gave thanks for the many blessings in your life? No? Well, there was a time when Thanksgiving wasn’t equated with shopping sprees, and the holiday was celebrated properly.
Long lines and door-busters are now overpowering a day that was once reserved for family. This is hardly fair for the employees who must now work on the national holiday.
This year, Macy’s will join Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Sears, Staples and Target by opening on Thanksgiving evening, a time once spent catching up with family after entering a food-coma. After 155 years of acknowledging Thanksgiving, Macy’s has now done its part to make sure Thanksgiving is nothing but a corporate holiday.
Just days after Macy’s announced its premature opening, J.C. Penney followed suit and announced it too will open the night of Thanksgiving this year. It’s simple, really: business revolves around competition, meaning things can only get worse from here.
Best Buy will open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, and Kmart is even holding a 41-hour Black Friday marathon starting at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.
In response to Target’s Thanksgiving opening, one California Target employee drew up a petition on Change.org asking the company to “take the high road and save Thanksgiving.” The petition, which has more than 186,000 supporters, joins more than 60 other petitions on the site calling on retailers to keep stores closed and employees at home with their families this holiday.
In a battle for customers, these retailers are cutting into their employees’ family time and placing the blame on consumers. Yes, corporate greed essentially created Black Friday, but it is consumers who have been feeding the machine for years now.
Retailers will do whatever is in their best interest, and unfortunately, there are too many fanatic shoppers willing to forgo the holiday tradition just to finish their Christmas shopping a few weeks early. It’s not only greedy, it’s ruining an American holiday tradition.
But there is still hope for Turkey Day and those Americans who appreciate it. Some reports are finding that Black Friday will slowly face extinction as it loses its appeal.
According to research firm Accenture’s holiday survey, the percentage of shoppers hitting the mall on Black Friday has been on a steady decline. A Wall Street Journal article published last year indicated that shoppers can often snag better deals on days during the holiday period other than Black Friday.
Adding to this, a new report from Dealnews.com said that over the past two years, shoppers have been most likely to locate the best deals not on Black Friday or Cyber Monday but on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.
Although the event is losing its importance in the marketplace, it is the cultural phenomenon surrounding the day that will most likely keep Black Friday around for the foreseeable future. Some shoppers love the crowds, loud music and competitive atmosphere; shopping is their sport.
But all sports have their moment in the spotlight. If the Super Bowl were extended like Black Friday, there would be at least four extra quarters added to the game.
So when you really think about it, why miss out on family-bonding time only to stand in line and elbow your way through a crowd? With daily deal sites offering savings online, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, you can have your turkey and eat it, too.
For those who opt-out on shopping during this time because of the madness, there is even an international day of protest on Friday they can participate in called Buy Nothing Day. Founded in 1992 by artist Ted Dave in Vancouver, the day was organized as a time for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.
So before you choose shopping over family, ask yourself: are the doorbusters really worth it? You may be saving a buck, but time with family and friends is priceless.