Do we really need to start the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving night?
Here’s a comment that showed up yesterday on an April 2011 blog post [Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn: Sustainability is all about people] that I wrote praising Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn:
Brian Dunn, what a thoughtful and caring person he likes to portray himself. As a current employee, I have to join my fellow employees in cutting our Thanksgiving time short because we are opening at mid night. Brian Dunn isn’t going to be working in a store for 14 hours straight. Correction, I get a measly 30 minute break somewhere in that 14 hours. On a regular work day, I work for 7 hours straight without a required lunch because my shift has to be longer than 7 hours to take a lunch. They don’t even let me break away unless it’s completely empty in my department (which is rarely the case). Best Buy also keeps diminishing the value of the employee discount, which is one of the best parts of working for them. Eventually, there may not be a discount. If Best Buy keeps making knee-jerk reactions like opening at Midnight on Thanksgiving day, there may not be a Best Buy down the road. Customers and Employees want to spend time with their families on Thanksgiving day!
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Valerie Brunmeier of San Jose plans a festive feast for her family on Thanksgiving, but two of her sons will have to hustle off to their retail jobs at local malls later that night.
“How do you relax when you know you’re heading out the door at 10 p.m. or so to go to work, and work all night long?” she said.
…Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Gap, Walmart, Toys R Us and Macy’s are among the major retailers that plan to fling open their doors early this season. Some stores plan to open at 8 or 9 p.m. Thursday, while others will open a few hours later at the stroke of midnight, trying to jump-start sales amid an uncertain economic climate.
It’s an arms race, of sorts, and the losers are the thousands of workers who have to cut their holiday short.
Target was unapologetic about its plans, telling reporters that it is opening at midnight on Thanksgiving because
Black Friday is one of the busiest and most competitive shopping days of the year. We have heard from our guests that they want to shop Target following their Thanksgiving celebrations rather than only having the option of getting up in the middle of the night.
By contrast, Brian Dunn of Best Buy sounded reluctant about the midnight opening. He told The New York Times that it “became an operating imperative for us” after competitors moved their openings back. “I feel terrible,” he said.
What can you do about it?
First, please don’t shop on Thanksgiving night.
Second, sign the Tell Target to Save Thanksgiving petition at Change.org that, as of this writing, has more than 187,000 signatures.
Too many of us already buy stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have that’s not going to make us happy. This is consumerism run amok.