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Thanksgiving is for Shopping- Should Stores Close? [POLL]

Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images
Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images

Yes, “it’s getting’, it’s getting’, it’s getting’ kinda hectic!”

Those were the words the rapper Turbo repeats in the 1990 hit “The Power!”

And there’s no doubt it is getting hectic. Especially now that the Christmas shopping season will be that much more competitive.

Within the last few weeks, major retailers like Sears, Macy’s, K-Mart, Kohl’s have all announced they’d be opening their doors earlier on Thanksgiving in order to get a jump on Black Friday sales.

This was met with howls of displeasure from some quarters who feel, as I do, that the holiday should be just that – a holiday in which to reflect on our many blessings.

In fact, I’d even go so far as to favor a “Blue Law” to keep stores closed until the holiday ends – or at least till midnight Friday.

We complain about the increasing intrusion of commercialism in our lives, yet do nothing about it. And, by the way, it’s not going to change anytime soon!

Here’s the latest salvo in the “war on Thanksgiving”:

Black Friday store hours are increasingly pushing into Thankgiving, as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it will start offering its holiday deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores — two hours earlier than last year.

The world’s largest retailer will stagger holiday deals throughout the night and into “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving that’s traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

Walmart is responding to what’s expected to be a fiercely competitive holiday shopping season. Black Friday has traditionally been the official kickoff to the period, but in the last few years, that start has crept into Thanksgiving.

This year, stores including Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Kohl’s Corp. are opening for the first time on Thanksgiving evening. And other stores, including Best Buy Co., announced earlier on Thanksgiving.

Most of Walmart’s 4,000 U.S. namesake stores are already open 24 hours year-round. But the company is concentrating on offering holiday deals on Thanksgiving.

During a media call Monday, Duncan McNaughton, executive vice president and chief merchandising and marketing officer at Walmart’s U.S. namesake division, said the discounter carefully studied the competitive landscape when it decided to start the deals earlier at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving.

“Everyone’s moved up this year so it will be a new dynamic,” McNaughton said.
The stakes are high for retailers since the holiday season accounts for up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expects an increase of 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion in holiday sales.

There’s also more pressure on retailers this year because the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is six days shorter than in 2012.

Big friggin’ deal! So what if you have to cram in a little more shopping in less time? One way or another, it still gets done.

It’s that the true meaning of the holiday seems to fall by the wayside.

I know, I have a Currier and Ives vision of what the holiday should be.

So while nobody can mandate you stay home and eat turkey with the family – nor, for that matter, could anyone mandate that stores close for the holiday – don’t complain when Thanksgiving becomes just another Thursday.

Albeit one with football. That’ll never change!

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