PRofits before PR

      40 Comments on PRofits before PR
PC Richard & Son's annual ad

P.C. Richard & Son’s Thanksgiving ad

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.

40 thoughts on “PRofits before PR

  1. Jennifer Im

    I would have definitely gone for the positive PR. Nowadays, working over the holidays isn’t uncommon. Chances are, each of us knows at least one person that has to or has had to take a shift even during these breaks. The negative feedback from the employees, which usually comes with a slew of other commentary on past grievances, really brings down the company’s reputation, and I don’t think the profits are worth it. You can’t buy that lost reputation back.

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  2. Erik Freitas

    I agree that companies should keep their doors closed on thanksgiving both out of respect to their employees and their own public image. Companies, especially large ones, who make their employees work on thanksgiving day are viewed by many as evil and greedy. A company that gives their employees the day off, especially in the face of fines, are more likely to have a great public image as a generous and respectful employer.

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  3. Gabrielle Furman

    I think that Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family and not think about going shopping and wording about who gets the best sale. Although, it may increase sales and keep the store busy it takes away from family. It may not affect me because I don’t go shopping every year, but it may be good from a PR position because it keeps the store relevant.

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  4. Whitney Shepherd (@WhitneyPRGirl)

    From a PR perspective I understand why companies were pushing their “Black Friday” sales heavily and thought it would be a good idea to move sales earlier into the night, to possibly avoid unsafe crowds later on. However, as a PR rep you must also think about the public and interrupting a family holiday for the sake of 50% off sales is not ethically correct. Many customers were upset at the fact that they had to miss Thanksgiving Day dinner, or leave early before dessert just stand in line. When in PR we must represent our client but we must not also forget our public.

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  5. Devin Jaffar

    As PR professionals, it is all about being ethical. Thanksgiving is an American tradition where we spend the day cooking and having family time. If stores are open on Thanksgiving day, it is not the actual idea of Thanksgiving because employees will have to rush their dinner and cut their family time in order to go to work. Family always should come first and Thanksgiving is that day for friends and family.

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  6. michaela marano

    I am so happy that you have brought this topic up! I have felt passionately about this for a couple years now. Black Friday was a great gimmick for PR and Marketing “back in the good old days” (just a few years ago) when people would wake up at the crack of dawn after a lovely evening of family and pumpkin pie and race to their local mall in search of a good deal. In recent years, the idea has exploded out of hand. It takes employees away from a day that is supposed to be about being thankful and forcing them to work. I commend stores who have chosen to stay closed on Thursday. I think it gives them a better public image. Also, America should start better promoting Small Business Saturday to better the mom and pop shops of this country, which only brings more jobs and profit to this country, instead of outsourcing.

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  7. sophia1212

    As much as I enjoy shopping and sales, I do believe that Black Friday is just so materialistic. Not even a day after giving thanks for everything and everyone that we are fortunate to have, these retailers are pushing the shopping. People trample each other just for an item that they “have to have.” To the stores that refused to open on Thanksgiving, I applaud them. Why take people away from their families on a day that is about family? Is this really what the world has come to? Is money THAT important?

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  8. agionesi

    I think I’d opt for the good PR as well. Of course stores staying open will be busy, but I think reputation is definitely more important. If a company has a good reputation people will want to shop there the other 364 days of the year.

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  9. Daniel Walsh

    i feel the best thing to do is open for most business. Either you get with the times or you will be lost in time so i believe in the next decade we will see more and more stores realizing that they can not pass up on black friday profits and will start to open like the rest of the stores. I was a black friday shopper this year and my personal opinion is that everyone needs to lighten up and just embrace it as part of the season.

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  10. nixablevins

    I feel that it is very important to keep the doors closed on thanksgiving. People deserve to spend time with there families. Each year I have seen the p. c. Richards ad and completely agree with it. With the chaos of black Friday, we all deserve a full day with our family’s on Friday. I also feel that with our access to Internet, there is no reason that the black Friday sales can’t start online the day before and in store on Friday. Some stores have started black Friday sales on Wednesday, spreading out the chaos so that more people have an opportunity to get a discount. 

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  11. kwalker222

    I work at the Roosevelt Field Mall in a retail store. The general managers of the stores were given the option to open on Thanksgiving or stay closed and my store manager decided to open on Thanksgiving. To my surprise I heard many of my coworkers happy about black Friday because more hours means more pay.

    I think malls forcing this upon retailers and is wrong. However, as opening earlier for Black Friday shopping becomes the norm, I don’t think this will hurt individual stores in the long run. If stores choose individually to open on Thanksgiving I see nothing wrong with this and don’t think it will ruin the reputation of any national retailer.

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  12. Jessica Vallario

    It seems unconstitutional to tell stores whether or not THEY have the right to participate in black Friday, or not. I was extremely taken back that a mall can actually fine one of its own stores for not participating in the event. If stores want to open, let them. It is not the job of legislators to push holiday’s onto the public. Hello!? Isn’t that why this nation was created in the first place? To escape political powers who pushed values upon us? People should have the right to boycott anything they choose, whether it be celebrating Thanksgiving or shopping on black Friday. Stores should have the option to make a profit on black Friday, or to remain closed to promote tradition. This is the land of the free and the free market. It should be up to the retailer and the consumer.

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  13. aschil2

    I think that stores should be closed on Thanksgiving, but I don’t like the advertisement that P.C. Richards put out. It is great to make a statement about the initiatives you are taking to be a better business but their advertisement seemed a little conceded to me. I feel like they took too strong of a positive for it to be good PR. A business that decides to stay closed on Thanksgiving should put out a press release and let consumers know via social media and an updated website homepage.

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  14. Makayla Sapienza

    I do agree that it has simply become absurd that stores are so focused on profits that they open earlier and earlier each year. It’s ironic and depressing that on a holiday which celebrates being thankful for what is in our lives, the stores just want you to spend your money for material things.

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  15. Jessica Braveman

    I have never been a fan of Black Friday shopping, especially since stores have started opening earlier and earlier each year. In Massachusetts no retailer is allowed to open before midnight on Black Friday.

    I understand that opening on Thanksgiving could increase profits, but by opening early it shows that the stores only care about making money. Staying closed on Thanksgiving is good PR because it shows that the companies care about their employees.

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  16. nicole_lombardo

    I am one of those people who is a fan of Black Friday. I say that as being a shopper as well as being someone who has worked in retail and has worked on Black Friday. It has become a fun tradition that I take part in. However, I take part AFTER Thanksgiving festivities and usually go around 10 PM closer to Midnight. I feel it is terrible that stores are opening so early cutting into people’s holiday. It is supposed to be something fun and a way to receive AMAZING deals on holiday gifts and put a dent in your Christmas, Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa lists. Stores that open too early on Thanksgiving are ruining peoples family holiday and should be stopped.

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  17. Ashley P.

    I spent this past Thanksgiving with family in Connecticut, and I distinctly remember my 9 year old cousin saying, “You know what’s funny about Black Friday? We just spent the day before saying how thankful we are, and yet everyone goes crazy buying things the next day.” I couldn’t help but agree with him. Every year, the Black Friday sales seem to come closer and closer to Thanksgiving day, which is sad. I definitely agree that good PR and keeping the doors shut on Thursday is the way to go. After all, it’s called Black Friday, not Thursday.

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  18. bibianabogues

    I also think that Black Friday is ridiculous, each year it cuts more and more into Thanksgiving. PR wise, I think it’s a very good move to be closed on Black Friday, but profit wise the stores that stay closed lose a lot of business. I find it unfair and pushing shopping way too far. On a day reserved to celebrate family and give thanks, we shouldn’t be urged to go out and shop all day/night long.

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  19. Deana Meccariello

    I think Black Friday is ridiculous. I did it once at the outlets and found it to be miserable. In the age of the internet there is no reason to open your doors on a holiday. All the sales you could get in the store are offered online from the comfort of your own home and most begin the week of thanksgiving and last through the following Monday. Coming from a person who used to work in the hotel business and was required to work on holidays for years, I can say being able to spend time at home with family on Thanksgiving is a gift and should not be spent shopping.

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  20. nikkigyftopoulos

    From a PR perspective and a personal opinion, I believe that retail stores should be closed on Thanksgivin regard to PR, stores that stay open are risking their reputation just for some extra profits. i think that their brand loyalty will be at risk because f this poor decision. Americans take note of companies that make their employees come in to work on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, it is such a bad move in regard to employee relations. Employees deserve to be with their families for the holiday and should not be required to work on a national holiday just because of a corporation’s greed. These companies become unattractive to both prospective employees and shoppers.

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  21. Vanessa Felder

    Honestly, I think that most stores should be closed on Thanksgiving. The fact that retailers are more concerned with making money is major disrespect to family values. It is called Black Friday for a reason, not Black Thursday. With the constant talk on sales and keeping track of which stores open when, diminishes the true meaning of the holiday. Plus opening Thursday evening takes away time spent with loved ones. I am sure if retailers did a research study, they would find that the profits they made didn’t make that much of difference if they had waited to open early Friday. Perhaps every retailer should get fined for opening an or recognize the good PR in waiting.

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  22. Vanessa Felder

    Honestly, I think that most stores should be closed on Thanksgiving. The fact that retailers are more concerned with making money is major disrespect to family values. It is called Black Friday for a reason, not Black Thursday. With the constant talk on sales and keeping track of which stores open when, diminishes the true meaning of the holiday. Plus opening Thursday evening takes away time spent with loved ones. I am sure if retailers did a research study, they would find that the profits they made didn’t make that much of difference if they had waited to open early Friday. Perhaps every retailer should get fined for opening an or recognize the good PR in waiting.

    Reply
  23. Rebecca Costa

    Black Friday has changed the meaning of Thanksgiving altogether. Nowadays, we see more ads on TV for Black Friday sales than Thanksgiving, which happens to be my favorite holiday. Being with your family on Thanksgiving should be people’s first priority- not leaving the dinner to score a deal on a TV. I respect P.C. Richard and Son and any other store that decides to save Black Friday shopping for Friday. I think that’s the ethical decision.

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  24. elizah9

    In my household, we do not participate in Black Friday or Thanksgiving shopping. We like to leave the holidays strictly for spending time with one another. It disappoints me that companies are opening their doors so early for Black Friday that they are interfering with an American holiday that is dear to so many families in the United States. Huge retail companies have really forgotten the true meaning of the holiday season by constantly promoting Christmas deals.

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  25. kcormi2

    I completely agree that PR is more important than profit in this situation. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day spent with family and friends and a day to give thanks for the things we have. The fact that Black Friday has been slowly making its way into the holiday itself is disappointing and saddening to me, and I know I am far from the only person who feels this way. Businesses/ companies staying closed on Thanksgiving are showing America that they not only have morals and values consistent with what the holiday stands for, but also that they care about their employees by allowing them to spend the day with their families. In this case, profits only go so far. In the long run, it is better to be a well-respected and well-liked company than bring in more profits on a beloved national holiday.

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  26. mconno25

    I would always opt for PR and sacrifice that little extra profit, especially when it comes to something like this. I understand the whole concept of Black Friday and even though I never participated I thought it was a fun idea to go shopping in the middle of the night with your family or friends. But over the years Black Friday has become too vicious for my liking. People getting trampled and now stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. Is that necessary? Hopefully the only people sacrificing time with their families are the retailers that work at these pathetic stores. Holidays are about family and spending time together, not spending your money at the mall. Stores should be respecting the American holiday and their dedicated employees. If stores aren’t staying open then as punishment they are being fined and I believe that’s the worst part.

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  27. bharran

    I 100% agree. Being with your families and loved ones on such a holiday is way more important than making a profit. Therefore, I’d choose good PR also. It makes me sad to see these retailers forcing their employees to give up their time to be thankful to work in such a chaotic setting hours before Black Friday really even begins. As an frequent shopper, I know I would not be spending my Thanksgiving night swiping my credit card, despite whatever great deals are out there. I will be spending it with my family and regardless of the industry you work in (retail in this matter), you should be able to enjoy the holiday the same as everybody else. This is an easy way for companies and brands to positively expose their names but I guess it is all about the money these days…

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  28. Sarah Abuharaz

    I always thought Black Friday was kind of shameful. It’s so contradictory. One day, we have a holiday that is based on being grateful for what we have and loving all those around us, then the next, we are trampling each other for “good” sales. Now, America is turning Thanksgiving day into Black Friday by opening stores at 5pm. The whole premise of it looks bad. We already turned Christmas into a business opportunity, the actual reason it is celebrated for is forgotten. It’s all about gifts now and Thanksgiving is soon to be swallowed by the business.

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  29. fcolav1

    I agree with you and would also opt for good PR. By keeping their doors open companies do end up making a good amount of money, but as you mentioned above, they also have everything to gain by keeping their doors shut. Putting profits before PR will hurt the company in the long run. Brand loyalty can go a long way, but there is a fine line that companies shouldn’t cross, and this would be one of them. P.C. Richard & Son’s set quite an example when they said, “It is our opinion that retailers who choose to open on Thanksgiving Day show no respect to their employees and families, and are in total disrespect of family values in the United States of America.” I think this speaks volumes and shows that P.C. Richards truly cares about their employees, and their employee’s families. This completely outweighs profits in the public’s eye, which is why opting for good PR should be a company’s number one priority!

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  30. Sarah Lopez

    I think that the press that companies receive in light of opening early for Black Friday always results in negative PR. I think it’s great that some companies have started taking a stand against opening late on Thanksgiving night. The fact that some stores open that night is completely out of line. I understand we are a profit driven society but it takes away from family values and the time spent with them. For example, my mom is a manager at JCPenney and has to be at work at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. This has caused our family to alter our Thanksgiving plans. Some associates are starting at 4pm to prep the store. This leaves them with barely any time to spend with their family. A lot of corporations don’t focus on family life at home, which results in stores opening on Thanksgiving day. I think the worst part out of all of this is that companies are proud to advertise the fact that they are opening so early. Opening so early might bring a company sales but it has the potential to affect its brand image and reputation.

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  31. laurelroseo

    Companies sometimes forget about their internal audiences and how there messages travel to their external audiences. Staying closed on thanksgiving is unnecessary and in my opinion unfair to employees. The decision whether to stay open or not definitely sends a message to a company’s publics.

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  32. Areanna Rufrano

    I completely agree. I don’t really understand why there is such an early start to this shopping tradition which is meant to be on the Friday after Thanksgiving, hence the name. Opening stores on a nationally celebrated holiday does not seem to be the wisest choice. And with the extremely low sale prices it doesn’t seem like these stores would be making much of a profit anyway. I just find the whole thing to be absurd and pointless. Good PR is definitely the way to go.

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  33. Gia Palomo

    I guess coming from a foreign country and not really knowing what Thanksgiving or Black Friday is, I dont see the big deal in keeping your store open or closed and life moves on either way so if anything I would suggest not completely closing the store but just not starting the sales on Thanksgiving. Im not too sure if thats a dumb suggestion or not but thats the way I see it. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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  34. Laura L.

    I believe goodwill trumps profit. I always found the concept of Black Friday a little ironic, considering that America just spent the past day giving thanks for what we already have, just to go indulge ourselves in material items and sales the very next day. Not only is it extremely rude and upsetting when a family member must leave Thanksgiving dinner early because he doesn’t want to miss a sale, but it is also disrespectful to those who are called into work. Maybe these people have no other choice but to work, and are deprived of celebrating the holiday with family and friends. I agree with Connecticut lawmakers and P.C. Richard & Son for making an effort to stop stores from opening on the holiday. Hopefully in future years, good PR will win and other stores will follow suit.

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  35. Courtney Zanosky

    I think this whole controversy says just as much about the stores as it does about consumers. I personally feel that it is a little silly that all of these people are willing to go out shopping on a day that is supposed to be reserved for family and giving thanks. How is it possible to give thanks while just wanting more? Therefore, I think it says a great deal about the stores that stay closed because they are trying to reinforce the true meaning of the holiday season. There is no clear answer here, but I commend the stores that do stay closed.

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  36. jheiden1

    I think keeping stores closed on Thanksgiving is the best option. I would never want to be apart from my family on a holiday, just so consumers can indulge on some halfway decent sales. Additionally, opening a store on Thanksgiving looks bad. Those who choose not to shop that day notice that family time is being wrongfully taken from employees.

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  37. Ashley Iadanza

    I feel that this is a really complex situation. I personally feel stores should keep their doors shut because it reflects badly on them. But, I understand why they have no initiative to do so when there will in fact be a lot of people shopping on Thanksgiving day just to get those deals.

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  38. Jenna_xo

    I totally agree with you professor. I think the retailers and other small stores that have made the decision to be closed on Thanksgiving is very smart PR.
    It shows their character, morals and ethics. I am a firm believer in doing the right thing over monetary gains because overall it pays off in the long run. People take notice to good PR.
    On that note…have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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  39. Lyndi Catania

    I’d also opt for good PR. I was never one to feel the need to go shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. I love P.C. Richard & Son’s ad because it shows the true meaning of Thanksgiving, and that they care about their employees and family time for everyone. Putting profits before PR is a very selfish move and can even end up hurting the company if they push it too far.

    Reply

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