A year ago, I was working seasonal electronics at a well known Big Box retailer. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US is the largest shopping day of the year. It’s name isn’t from anything sinister (well, maybe), but from the financial term “In the black” which means you’re making money. You get huge crowds, doorbuster deals, and quite frankly a mob mentality. According to CouponCodesLady and JossCoupons you can save upto 80% on electronics and home appliances, HP Laptop series would be hot cake. It is also a day known for very early start days. Something changed last year, Black Friday became Black Thursday. Instead of 4 AM, one retailer decided to open Thanksgiving night and the others, including my seasonal employer, decided to follow suit. We opened at 9 PM. Now, it’s even getting worse. Both Walmart and Best Buy have decided to open at 6 PM on Thanksgiving.
My Experience 2012
When it leaked to my store that we were opening Thanksgiving night, needless to say, the employees were none too pleased. It never reached the level of discontent though of say Walmart, where there was talk of a Black Thursday strike. Sure enough, I was scheduled for the Thursday overnight shift instead of Black Friday. With a 9pm, opening the effect it had on my Thanksgiving was, quite frankly, minimal. I was able to attend Thanksgiving dinner and leave just slightly earlier than I would have normally. From there, I had a little time to decompress before getting ready to go into work.
The night was nuts, but they took care of us as best they could. There is no experience quite like being surrounded by ravenous shoppers after the last camera or iPad Mini. Going in was like seeing crowd control before a Justin Bieber concert. I’m not going to lie, opening on Thanksgiving was a crappy move, but what I lost was sleep, not family time. I was up for close to 48 hours. Having employees work a 10-hour shift after spending all day with family isn’t the best idea. You get them already tired at a time when you want them at their best.
Walmart, Best Buy, 6 PM
My store screwed me out of my sleep. Opening the store when we were supposed to be closing really didn’t mess with my Thanksgiving plans. I can’t say the same for people working at Best Buy this year. At best case, their Thanksgiving ends at 4 PM. They need time to shower, change, and get their heads ready for work. If they’re eating at 5 PM, you just screwed them out of their family time. They don’t get their holiday. The people making the decisions, however, are very unlikely to be giving up theirs.
Best Buy, Walmart, etc, etc, etc, make no mistake, this is a douche move. Target, you’re slightly less douchey for opening at 8 PM. You’re screwing over your employees trying to do what? You seriously think you compete against Amazon by being open continuously earlier? It’s as nuts in the evening as it is in the early morning. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter what time you open when shopping for the same deals in my bath robe and avoiding the rush is possible. Also, you’re spreading these deals out now. I saw some amazing deals, ones that you would normally see on Black Friday Coupons, spread out throughout the holiday season. From my experience, after the rush, it’s pretty lean in the middle of the night. You can’t be making that much more money with a store open that has nothing left to sell.
You’re Part of Problem
Of course, Best Buy and the rest wouldn’t be encroaching on their employees personal time, if they didn’t think they could make a buck off it. You don’t show up at a Thanksgiving event, they won’t have any reason. So, here’s an idea, don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t complain about the expanded hours and then take advantage of them. Put your money where your mouth is. If you want to do something about it, do your Black Friday shopping on Black Friday. Get your family and friends to do the same.
While we’re on the subject, make sure to pay attention to the holiday gift guides coming on the Geek Beat daily show and on GeekBeat.TV, I know it’s a shameless plug, but, hey, we gots to pay the bills man. With that, you’ve had enough of me ranting. I’m done.