By Desirée Taylor
Shopping on Thanksgiving? It’s becoming the norm. That’s because a host of big retailers have been opening their doors earlier each year on Thanksgiving. Walmart is open all day and the store’s Black Friday sales start on Thanksgiving evening.
“As you’ve seen a lot of retailers have moved up Black Friday offers this year. Our event starts at 6 P.M. and 8 P.M. Thanksgiving,” said Walmart spokesperson Danit Marquardt.
Call this, the Black Friday Creep, instead of waiting until midnight to offer big sales, retailers are luring shoppers in on thanksgiving evening.
“Back in the day stores open at midnight on Thanksgiving. People want a jump start and don’t want to wait until midnight to go shop. They’d like to go after dinner go shop. Clearly this is something that consumer demand is driving and retailers are simply responding to that demand,” said John Holub from NJ Retail and Merchants Association.
“I think it’s good because you know people can go out eat their food at home and then spend some good times together later as a family again,” said Chris Villacrez.
But P.C. Richards has refused to jump on the bandwagon, pledging not to open on Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is a national holiday, not a national shopping day. It’s the only American holiday we have, it has nothing to do with race, creed, religion. We feel that people including ourselves should be home with their family and friends and giving thanks for what we have, not out shopping,” said P.C. Richards store manager Craig Ruppert.
“It’s more important for me to be with family then in line at Walmart,” said Jordan Manor.
Public outcry against Black Friday Creep is evident on social media. Anthony Rivera, who works at Menlo Park Mall created an online petition to try to get the mall to close on Thanksgiving with no luck. But he believes his message resonated with many retail employees who would prefer to spend the holiday with family and friends.
“Just because everyone works so hard and you can’t take away a federal holiday that grants everyone a day off, where they don’t have to work, nothing obligatory,” said Rivera.
Retailers who do open on Thanksgiving say they’re sensitive to their employees needs and offer them incentives.
“Reatilers are very sensitive to their employees and the ones that are opening earlier have allowed employees if they want extra hours to come in and work. For some employees this is an opportunity to make a couple extra dollars during the holiday season,” said Holub.
“Black Friday is not possible without dedication of our associates. On Black Friday we provide them with meals during their shift, holiday pay, as well as 25% off a basket,” said Marquardt.
“Knowing I’ll be here for 16 to 20 hours and it’s just people asking me questions, I get a rush out of that,” said Walmart employee Daniel Beachum.
So whether you prefer to rush to the store or the dinner table on Thanksgiving, the choice is yours on this holiday.