Thanksgiving basically inaugurates the Christmas shopping season with the dramatic launch of Black Friday sales. Many customers are out to get the good bargains, and stores are out to get the customers. To play on this mutual attraction, Black Friday is starting earlier and earlier than its official day.
Forbes contributor Walter Loeb writes about this year’s Black Friday trend. He says it’s propelled by a shortage of shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas—six fewer days to sell goods. The consumer demand has not been high, so stores are trying to attract customers.
Sales now start the weekend before Thanksgiving, with what are traditionally Black Friday sales spilling over into Thanksgiving Day. Walmart and Best Buy will open with door-busters at 6 pm, Thursday. Others will open at 8 pm.
Loeb wonders if the new hours will just shift sales from one day to another, and estimates store’s retail sales will only increase by 2.6 percent. Moreover, he wonders how it will impact people’s Thanksgiving celebrations. He compares it to the nostalgic world of Norman Rockwell:
“I still remember Norman Rockwell’s pictures of the Four Freedoms. One of them is a picture of a family sitting around the Thanksgiving table and a mother serves the beautiful turkey. It is called ‘Freedom from Want’. The other three pictures are called ‘Freedom of Speech’; ‘Freedom of Worship’ and ‘Freedom from Fear’. That old-fashioned spirit of a family sitting around a dinner table to enjoy the turkey with all its trimming is gone. Now we will gobble down the food as early as possible – never mind the dessert – because we have to be at the stores in time for the doors to open. By next year I predict Thanksgiving dinners will have to be served around breakfast time because many stores will open even earlier than this year.
Norman Rockwell would not like that.”
For that matter, how well do we like it?
>>Source: Loeb, Walter. “Why Black Friday Starts A Week Before Thanksgiving, Ends Christmas Eve.” Forbes. 25 November 2013.