Friday, November 21, 2014

Black Friday Shopping on Thanksgiving?

I love a good deal. A personality perk (it's not a flaw!) that I'm fairly certain I got from my dad. I vaguely remember my mom complaining when he bought a whole case of marshmallows just because they were so cheap. I also vaguely remember them passing out said marshmallows at Halloween when they ran out of candy. Obviously the marshmallows were a win then, right? So when Nate complains about my deals, I point out that it's ingrained in me and I can't help myself.

And I'm starting to get excited because my three biggest shopping days of the year are coming up.

In order of importance:
1. Dillard's New Years Day Sale (my all-time favorite)
2. Dillard's After Christmas Sale
3. Black Friday

There isn't any controversy around #1 and #2, but Black Friday continues to make headlines as it seeps into Black Thursday (is that a thing? Probably not). People are up in arms because retailers shouldn't be open on Thanksgiving, especially when their sole purpose of opening is to make a buck. Correction - make a lot of bucks.

On the one hand, I completely agree that Thanksgiving is a holiday and everyone should have the option of staying at home with their families and friends. Absolutely.

However, the realist in me knows that this simply isn't possible. There are professions out there that require people to work holidays. Ones that come to mind include police officers, firefighters, emergency room personnel, movie theater workers and military personnel. Many of these people don't get the option to stay home on Thanksgiving or any other holiday for that matter. And you could argue that they know what they're getting into when they sign on for a particular job, which is true. But I'd argue right back that so do retail workers.

I worked retail for several years and I knew that if I didn't ask off in advance that my name could end up on the schedule and it would be my responsibility to find a replacement. It pays to plan, folks. It pays to plan.

I think it's also worth mentioning that there are people who willingly work holidays because they get paid time and a half. My grandfather used to work Christmas day for the extra money. And most families simply rearrange their dinner plans to the lunch hour or vice versa.

Which makes me wonder why so many people are complaining. My guess is that most retail workers had the option to ask for time off several months ago and some chose to work and get the extra cash. It's possible that some retailers didn't give them a choice, which is lousy, but not entirely unheard of either. And it's hard for me to get riled up about someone working a few hours with the crazies when no one is getting riled up about the police officers also at work controlling the crowds.

So are people genuinely upset for the employees? Or do they actually want to have their turkey and eat it, too? Like they want to spend their entire Thanksgiving day stuffing their faces and then get up early on Friday and get the best deals. It's not so much "I don't want others to give up their Thanksgiving," as much as it's "I don't want to cut my own Thanksgiving short to wait in line for that hot toy I really need." That's really where they're coming from, right?

My sister is coming down for Thanksgiving and refuses to shop until Friday. Not because she's taking a hard line on retail companies being open, but because she doesn't want her personal holiday interrupted with the craziness. For her, it's about relaxing with family. And she loathes the fact that companies are trying to lure you away from your family to go spend money on their products.

Which I completely understand because I'm currently in that position. There are a few items that I'd like to get to wrap up my holiday shopping. Of course, the items are only available in the store. And if I wait until Friday morning, it's unlikely there will be any left. So what do I do? Go out on Thanksgiving to get those items? Or spend time with my family and hope the items are still there on Friday? And really, this year isn't so bad. I could find other gifts. But what about when E is older and requests one special toy? No question. I would go out on Thanksgiving and wait in line for that toy. I couldn't bear to have him disappointed on Christmas.  For purely selfish reasons, I want to keep Black Friday on Friday.

Where do you stand? Will you shop on Thanksgiving day? Or wait until Black Friday when all of hot items may be gone?


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