Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wal-Mart to start Black Friday on Thanksgiving

If you thought Black Friday creep (the trend driving stores to open earlier and earlier the day after Thanksgiving) might be a passing fad, abandon hope: Wal-Mart is jumping into the ring.

Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will kick off its Black Friday sales at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving day, joining a host of other national retailers who are pushing shopping right up to - and even into - turkey day.

“Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early, so we’re going to hold special events on Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” said Duncan MacNaughton, Wal-Mart's chief merchandising officer, in a statement about the retailers earliest Black Friday ever.

The retail giant's sale will run in two waves. First, at 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24, home goods, toys and apparel will be steeply discounted, followed by a midnight sale on electronics. Wal-Mart will also have online-only sales with free shipping on Thanksgiving, and continuing discounts through the holiday weekend.

Last year, Wal-Mart followed the early bird schedule of most retailers, starting its sale in the pre-dawn hours after Thanksgiving. But this year, Black Friday has been shifting relentlessly earlier: Kohl's, Target, Macy's and Best Buy have all announced their first ever midnight openings. Charlotte-based Belk has given an hour, announcing it will open at 3 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. this year.

Gap plans to have about 1,000 of its Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and outlet stores open on Thanksgiving day.

The race to open earlier comes as retail trade groups and analysts are mostly predicting lackluster gains in holiday spending, as the economy remains on rocky ground and it's not clear when steady improvement will begin. Black Friday is usually the biggest single shopping day of the year.

Wal-Mart has been turning the clock forward on the holiday season this year. The retailer rolled out some holiday merchandise in mid-September, its earliest yet, and held an extensive sale last weekend with discounts it said were close to Black Friday levels.

So, readers out there, what do you think? Do you buy MacNaughton's argument? Might it actually be saner to do your shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner and then fall into bed, exhausted but satisfied, at 3 a.m. or so? Or is this just one more example of creeping commercialism marching ever-deeper into once-sacred territory?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Creeping commercialism into something that should be reserved as a day for family, thanks and just relaxed fun. The holidays just don't mean anything anymore. There was a time when literally everything shut down on a holiday and you spent your day enjoying your family. Now the only thing that signifies a holiday is the percentage you get off at the store. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it; the economy sucks and we need the boost. Really? This is really going to help? No, the only thing this is going to do is continue to overwork already overworked employees who would probably love to have a day off from the screaming kids, rude comments and unappreciative bosses. What's next? Midnight sales after the midnight church services at Christmas? Stores opening at 3:00 in the afternoon on Christmas Day because, I mean come on people, you've had your Christmas meal and opened your presents by now, get out there and shop America back into prosperity! Yeesh!! Thanks but no thanks. You can have your Black Fridays, Magenta Mondays, whatever. Give me something homemade or better yet, give me a day off with pay!!!

Anonymous said...

The holidays do still mean something, and it's up to each generation to protect their traditions and special times.

The stores are not to blame. It's only creeping commercialism if you choose to leave your family and go to Wal-Mart or any other store at these ridiculous hours to buy the same stuff you can buy any other day for a few dollars more. No one is forcing any of us to do this - everyone chooses their own values and priorities.

Anonymous said...

The way to stop this is to stop shopping at Wal-Mart on holidays and "Black Friday."

What most don't realize, in addition to creeping commercialism into the holidays, is Wal-Mart is taking time away from its employees and their families.

My husband is a long time employee of WM. He has to work 7am-noon on Thanksgiving Day and then return to work at 2am and work a 12 hour day. His normal hours are 7-4, but during holidays that goes right out the window.

I'm not an old person, but I remember a time when we got all our holiday shopping done during normal business hours and not on holidays.

J said...

I don't blame the stores either. The problem is that there are WAY too many people in this world that are slaves to what other people think of them, driving them to irrational thoughts and behaviors ("I MUST be the FIRST person to get ___ ") and they are also slaves to the TV/internet ("I saw ___ on TV/online and therefore I cannot live without it"). The retailers know there are millions of people who subscribe to these irrational beliefs and they are just giving them what they want.

You think the evil retailers are making a mockery out of the holidays? Stay home until the Saturday after Thanksgiving and December 27. Enough people do that and the retailers won't open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Anonymous said...

The day after thanksgiving is not a holiday... Much ado about nothing.

WashuOtaku said...

Eventually Thanksgiving will be like any other holiday where the stores will offer bigger savings than normal, but will be business as usual like Memorial Day, New Year's Day, and Independance Day.

Anonymous said...

Observer prints an article about Wal-Mart having a sale the day AFTER thanksgiving. A normal daily routine article. The only response it gets is how society is crumbling and the apocalypse is dawning... I wish I could find so much "joy" in my life as these self appointed religious experts... God Bless!

Anonymous said...

"into something that should be reserved as a day for family, thanks and just relaxed fun. The holidays just don't mean anything anymore."

Forward to Thanksgiving: Goes over to the relatives house (road rages on the way over) stops and gets some gas, starts screaming at the TV during the football game, complains all day about how horrible life is and how messed up the world is, complains about the liberals and Obama, Gets his face stuffed. Drives the family nuts, leaves goes home get on the internet starts fighting the liberals till he falls asleep.
A lovely holy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

This is insane. Now Thanksgiving is corrupted by moronic shopping. Just stay home and enjoy the holiday. Don't get sucked in to this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

So at this rate that the stores are going, Black Friday will soon be starting the day after Halloween? Labor Day weekend? Geesh....lol

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter if you choose to stay at home and enjoy the holiday with family and friends. I for one do not want to put myself through the horror of holiday shopping for the sake of saving three bucks on garbage at Wal-Mart and Target, or buying yet another AeroPostale shirt made by Malaysian children.

Anonymous said...

In two words, hell no! At 10:00 pm Thanksgiving or 12:00 am the day after, the last place I want to be is waiting in a line outside some store or pushing through a crowd inside one. It's a marketing ploy, a synthetic sense of urgency. The "Doorbusters" and "exclusives" are frequently special items brought in for the day, inferior to the regular stock. Pushing shoving, limited quantities, questionable merchandise? Wow. Sounds like fun. Not as much fun as sleeping, which is what my family and I plan to do at Dark-Thirty on "Black Friday."

Steve Doughtery said...

I don't meant to be a jerk in writing this, but to those who write things like "Creeping commercialism into something that should be reserved as a day for family, thanks and just relaxed fun" and "This is insane. Now Thanksgiving is corrupted by moronic shopping. Just stay home and enjoy the holiday. Don't get sucked in to this nonsense", how about this: Please do not tell me how I should spend my time. If I choose to stay at home and watch football after eating, then that's fine. If I decide to go to Walmart, Best Buy, and/or Target at midnight, then that's fine too. And, if I choose to skip Thanksgiving all together, then that is also fine. It's my business and does not concern you. So, please step down from your pedestal and let people go about their lives without preaching about what they should and should not do.

#End Rant#

Anonymous said...

Call it what you want -- commercial nonsense, etc. -- but last year my friend & I got up early Black Friday morning, found a coffee place, arrived at Walmart in time to get some great bargains, stood in checkout and chatted for the longest since we were kids -- we didn't see anybody there who didn't want to be there and we had a great time! An event is what you make it!

Anonymous said...

This is a nothing story to me. All I see here is free advertising for the mentioned merchants. If this newspaper or any other advertising venue wants to give free advertising that's their business, not yours and mine.

Anonymous said...

Wal-mart Black Friday Shopping at 10 PM Thanksgiving Night is in my estimate a travesty. Saying nothing about the people who will sacrifice their holiday to shop, what about all the people who have to WORK on a holiday which is supposed to be about family?

First, the employees at Wal-mart don't make a ton of money and they don't get many company holidays if any. Thanksgiving should be one of them. Every employee knows they have to work Black Friday but asking them to come in to work the night shift on a day which used to be one of only 2 guaranteed days off a year is just cruel.

I wish all the consumers would just stay home. Make Wal-mart loose money on the proposition...

but of course that's not going to happen because some people have to get that 299 flat screen TV...

/disgusted to the extreme