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Recently, Macy’s confirmed the rumors that 750 of its department stores will open up at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, providing extra opportunity for holiday bargain hunters to feed the shopping monkey.
This will be the first time in their 155-year history that Macy’s will be open on Thanksgiving Day, but they aren’t the first major retailer to slide back the Black Friday gates. Walmart and Toys "R" Us got the ball rolling two years ago, and last November many more stores followed suit, opting to kick off the shopping bacchanalia on Thanksgiving night.
The new trend has Americans agitating in all directions.
Around the time of the Macy’s announcement, the Facebook page “Say No to Shopping on Thanksgiving” sprang up encouraging visitors to “show retailers you care more for family and friends. Stay home on Thanksgiving with your family.” The page provides a forum to vent about the encroachment of Christmas-fueled consumerism. It’s a popular sentiment: a simple graphic on the site urging shoppers to resist shopping on Thanksgiving has been shared nearly a million times.
I can’t imagine being fit for a shop after the traditional Thanksgiving gluttony (especially as this year is Thanksgivukkah), but history demonstrates that there are legions of American shoppers more determined than me.
Daphne Avila, a spokesperson for J.C. Penny, who followed Macy’s with a similar announcement about Thanksgiving hours, explained things from the retailer’s point of view: “Last year, we opened much later than the competition and our stores saw a lot of frustrated customers tap our doors wanting to shop. This year, we decided we weren’t going to let those opportunities pass us by.”
Macy’s released a press release trying to dodge the accusation that they’re ruining Thanksgiving for their employees: “In a move to minimize the impact on associates, Macy’s began planning early to allow associates the time to review available shifts throughout the holiday season, including on Thanksgiving weekend, and to volunteer for the shifts they prefer.”
K-Mart, which announced last week that they will open up at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving will likely have more difficulty defending itself. For now, they are the only major retailer to be so bold.
Personally, I’m pulling for stores like Nordstrom and Costco, who will restrain themselves until Black Friday. Though for me, it’s an academic argument, as I’ll be in a food coma until the Saturday after.
Do you think big retailers should stay closed on Thanksgiving? Tell us about it in the comments or in a blog post?