With nearly 15 million U.S. citizens working in retail, many have a love/hate relationship with the popular shopping promotions the day after Thanksgiving. It's a day many families and friends go shopping together to bond and find the best deal possible. Retailers welcome customers with open arms as they happily fill their stores. And as the years have passed, it seems Black Friday starts earlier and earlier, even creeping closer yet to Thanksgiving Day.
Recently I was giving one of my clients her monthly roots touch-up at my salon, and she let out a big sigh, saying, "I have no choice but to go in at 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, because we are opening at 8 p.m." What does this mean? As a mother of three, she has to leave her family on a holiday to work through the night at a big box retailer. By choice? No.
My heart sinks when I hear of a casualty because of a human stampede to get inside a store. I love a deal like anyone else, but a question has to be raised: Why do we stand in line to trample over one another to buy more things a day (or not even) after we have given thanks for what we already have?
Kevin Roose at New York Magazine raises similar questions, but from the perspective of a behavioral economist. It's well worth the read.
A subject such as this raises many questions and a bit of controversy, but the bottom line is we can't blame the retailers. We can't blame the manufacturers. We can only blame ourselves as consumers feeding into the Black Friday marketing cycle. The cycle that is beginning to take many away from their families on a day of thanks. Will you participate this year?