The Great Holiday Shopping Controversy is on once again! Retailers are pushing the Black Friday envelope a little further each year, with many stores including JCPenney, BestBuy, Old Navy opening at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Sears, Kohl’s, Target, and others will open at 6:00 p.m. Most Walmarts will be open all day. While these companies are hoping to maximize their holiday profits, the voices protesting Thanksgiving day shopping are growing louder.
From the new Facebook group “Boycott Shopping on Thanksgiving Day” which lists stores as “naughty” and “nice,” to retailers who are very public about remaining closed, the backlash and anger against opening on Turkey Day is palpable. Christopher & Banks, a clothing store in a New Hampshire mall that will fine stores for not opening, released this defiant statement: “We have made a decision that all stores will be closed on Thanksgiving day regardless of the mall requirements.” The Capitol Mall in Olympia, Washington decided not to fine The Mac Store, an independent re-seller of Apple products, for refusing to open on the holiday. The Hartford Courant reported this week that, “Connecticut lawmakers plan to propose legislation next year to discourage stores from opening on Thanksgiving, aiming to prevent ‘Black Friday’ sales from spilling into a American holiday.” And Long Island-based electronics retailer P.C. Richard & Son runs full-page ads every year stating, “It is our opinion that retailers who choose to stay open on Thanksgiving Day show no respect to their employees and families, and are in total disrespect of the family values in the United States of America.”
Some retailers such as T.J. Maxx; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and Costco will be closed on Thanksgiving. The list of others is long and growing. From a public relations perspective, these brands have everything to gain by keeping their doors shut. The other retailers have put potential profits before PR; the question remains whether the loss of goodwill is worth the potential monetary gains from opening on the holiday. I’d opt for good PR.
Happy Thanksgiving! Your thoughts?
P.S. You can check out comedian Lewis Black’s hilarious commentary on this same topic here.