For years the retail industry has ignored Thanksgiving. It is situated in between Halloween (which in the last few years in particular has blown up) and, of course, Christmas (or whatever you choose to celebrate). While grocery stores make bank leading up to this day (and sometimes on this day), there once was a time that retailers let this day go. It was the day before the big "official" start of the season and employees and shoppers had one final day before the mad rush. Not anymore.
It started a few years ago when major retailers began testing the waters closer to Thanksgiving. Some would open at midnight Thursday. That is still on Friday, so it was okay. After time this wasn't good enough. Midnight turned into 10 p.m. and now (for some) turned into the entire day. Yes, some major retailers are choosing to open the entire day on Thanksgiving for the first time. They are trying a "marathon" approach where the store will be open for 41 hours straight.
This year, Thanksgiving falls on November 28th, which is the latest it can ever be. This is compared to last year where it was the earliest (November 22nd). While things are slowly getting better economically, Americans are watching their wallets and may or may not spend as much as the businesses want. Still is sacrificing Thanksgiving the answer?
To be fair, Thanksgiving has been taken over by the corporate world for years (even before all this). Every float on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is usually sponsored by some company. There are also the NFL football games, which are watched by millions and constantly interrupted by commercials. Places like gas stations and some restaurants will be open and typically do fantastic on this day. All these things are normal and are now expected. So, is Thanksgiving Day shopping just the new norm or is it time save the turkey?
Some people who work in retail or a major store might actually want to work on Thanksgiving Day. They may not be able to go home for the holiday or have any family. They could use the extra cash and are happy to sacrifice the holiday. Some also don't like to be around their family for hours, so having to work could be the perfect way out of an uncomfortable situation.
On the other hand, there is everyone else. While some critics might argue that these employees are choosing to work in this industry and therefore know that this is the downside of the job, the idea of working/shopping on Thanksgiving is (comparatively) a new concept (plus everyone has a different story on why they are working at these establishments). People that work in this industry vary in age, but some are the age where they have their own families and frankly want to spend Thanksgiving with them.
With all this being said, will this change things? Probably not. When stores began opening their doors at 10 p.m. or earlier Thanksgiving Day, consumers were initially angry. However, this didn't stop many from camping out in front of the store or waiting in long lines that evening. Last year, some employees of these stores planned on doing a walk-out but this action or threat of action did not discourage the same stores from having the same or even extending their hours this year. This year in particular, more employees are feeling this problem with the addition of some stores who were previously closed on the holiday. Unless the revenue on Thanksgiving is low (low enough that it isn't worth the hassle and the backlash), this unfortunately will continue.
So, is the Thanksgiving holiday dead? No. Millions will still travel and be together and do whatever they want to do. However, it has changed. Whether the change is for the better has yet to be seen. While it is up to each individual consumer to decide whether or not he or she wants to go shopping on Thanksgiving, personally I will most likely avoid the mayhem. It just doesn't seem right. Society gets bombarded every day from multiple angles to buy something. Sometimes enough is enough. Plus I will probably be in a food coma, so leaving the house doesn't sound like fun.