Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

Black Friday is crowding out Thanksgiving holiday

November 28, 2013

BlackFriday_chart-01

Black Friday is an economic arms race that benefits nobody—neither retailers nor shoppers.  Now, as the chart above shows, it is crowding out the traditional American Thanksgiving holiday.

Historically the big retail chain stores have opened earlier and earlier the day after Thanksgiving so as to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals.   Christmas shoppers stand in line before the store opening to gain a competitive advantage in finding bargains.  I don’t in the least criticize people with tight budgets for doing this.

Retailers, shoppers and store employees would all be better off if there was a law, or a legal means of reaching a mutual agreement, for retail chains to close early on Thanksgiving and open no earlier than 8 a.m. the day after.   Meanwhile those of us Americans who can afford to do so can vote with our dollars for companies such as Costco, Nordstrom, TJ Maxx and BJ’s Wholesale Club that allow their employees to enjoy a Thanksgiving holiday, even if they give up some sales dollars to do so.

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Upton Sinclair on Christmas shopping

November 24, 2012

The above video shows Wal-Mart customers fighting over telephones that were on sale Friday with the start of the Christmas shopping season.  They probably weren’t typical, but neither were they unusual.  Click on Wal-Mart’s Black Friday 2012 for more examples.  I don’t know who coined the term “Black Friday” for the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, but I’m sure it must have been a department store employee.

Long before there were Black Friday sales, the reformer Upton Sinclair had this to say about the shopping season.

Sinclair, Upton_Beall_Jr

Upton Sinclair

Many friends of mine regard the Christmas season as, not exactly an ordeal but a stressful time they have to get through, rather than a time of rejoicing, let along a Christian religious feast.  What went wrong?  Was it when Santa Claus and his presents displaced the baby Jesus in the manger as the central Christmas figure?

Or is there something about Black Friday and the Christmas shopping scene that I misunderstand?

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