Why We’re Pissed Stores are Opening on Thanksgiving

We already have Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Do we really need Brown (Gray?) Thursday?

I’ve never been a huge camp-outside-Target-in-a-Snuggie-with-a-thermos-of-coffee person. The hot-ticket items every year (Furbies and Wiis come to mind) never left me lusting, and they most definitely did not warrant a 3am wake-up call post-tryptophan-coma.

Um, apparently I’m in the minority.

In 2012, the National Retail Federation reported that 247 million shoppers visited retailers or shopped online during the unofficial long holiday weekend. Aside from that figure being absolutely mind-boggling, it’s also telling of an industry looking to further capitalize on a made-up holiday (yeah, I said it) that already raked in $59.1 billion last year alone.

That’s why I was thoroughly pissed to see even more stores opening on Thanksgiving this year. Stores including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Kmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, J.C. Penny, and The Gap will all be open next Thursday—some even as early as 6am. Unfortunately, this isn’t much different from last year; many of these stores opened then, too. This year, it’s more stores opening at ever earlier. It begs the question: How many years will it take for Thanksgiving to become just another ordinary day?

Evidently, my anger isn’t totally unique. Last week, I received a petition from Change.org rallying to make Target close its doors on Thanksgiving. With 91,348 signatures as of publishing, it looks like it’s gaining traction. Signer Carol Adele-Jewett commented: “Emergency personnel must work, but shopping is NOT an emergency.” And we agree with her; EMS (obviously?) trumps the dash for a new TV.

Black Friday serves its purpose well: killer sales and a hilarious bonding activity after Thanksgiving’s gorge-a-thon. Why must we ruin two mutually exclusive holidays by blurring the line between family time and shopping time? We’ve already expanded to Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, meaning there are more than enough opportunities to score a great deal.

What this really means: If someone is out shopping, another someone is working on his or her behalf—on Thanksgiving, when they should be—or could be—with their families. Some would argue that we at Shoppist are the biggest of shopping aficionadas, but even we can put down our credit cards and admit that this is ludicrous. Therefore, we suggest the the only shopping to be done on Thanksgiving is trips to the grocery store for forgotten cranberries and Pillsbury crescents. Because that 157-inch 4D television for $13.99 can wait. Really.