Thanksgiving has always been a tradition of food, family, and good cheer. But this year, it has gained a new tradition: early Black Friday shopping.
This high-holy day for avid shoppers has begun bleeding into Thanksgiving night. Typically, stores do not open their doors until midnight or early morning after Thanksgiving, but this year that has changed. Target will begin their holiday sales at 9 p.m., while Walmart, Sears, K-Mart and Toys “R” Us are reportedly starting at 8 p.m.
The Disney Store even has a jump on the competition, hosting “Magic Friday” deals online since Monday. Walmart, Amazon.com and many others also have online pre-Black Friday specials all week.
“I think Black Friday is being overshadowed by Cyber Monday,” said Kristin Walker, marketing professor.
Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving, where retailers host huge online sales.
“I think we’re going to see an interesting shift to online sales. How much demand is offline? And how much demand has moved online?” she said.
Walker contends that the earlier store hours will not make a big difference.
“Demand is going to be the same. All you’re doing is sort of helping everyone get home,” Walker said.
These earlier deals have received mixed reviews from consumers.
“It makes sense that they want to open up early so more people can come, but at the same time it interrupts time with family since it’s on Thanksgiving,” said Travis White, sophomore criminology major.
White went Black Friday shopping last year and plans to go again but not until he finishes his turkey dinner.
Disgruntled employees are not going to work quietly though. More than 40 petitions have been launched across the country on change.org by workers fed up with the earlier store hours. In addition to petitions, CNN Money reports that Walmart workers are threatening to walk-out during their shifts on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This walk-out comes after an October strike in LA stores in response to poor pay, health care and other grievances.
Some stores, such as Target, are offering employees a special holiday pay for working on Thanksgiving night or the early shifts on Black Friday.
“There were some employees who actually wanted to work on Thanksgiving because they don’t have family, or other personal reasons. We know our schedules ahead of time, so it gives us an ample amount of time to swap shifts if we don’t desire to work on those days,” said Phillip Weisberg, a CTVA major who works at the Target on Nordhoff Street and Balboa Boulevard.
This year will be his first time working during Black Friday, but he is going to miss the midnight rush, as his shift does not start until later that evening.
Weisberg explained that his co-workers were not very bothered by the change in hours.
“Some were annoyed at the fact they will be bombarded with waves of guests doing last minute shopping. We just shrug whenever we go to work on such high traffic holidays because we know what our job is and don’t expect much out of it,” said the sophomore.
According to CNN Money, retailers make about 40 percent of their November and December profits from Black Friday alone.
“Black Friday helps retailers, and when their bottom line is good that helps the economy,” said Walker.
She explained that this could open up more job opportunities for people.
“Large in-store sales mean more employees than normal,” said Mary Curren, chair of the marketing department. “I suspect there are also a lot of babysitters who benefit from working on Black Friday.”
But Curren said stores are using huge sales to reel in shoppers in hopes of them buying non-discounted items.
“There will be huge revenues earned by retailers on Black Friday, but if only deeply discounted items are purchased, retailers will not be happy because they won’t be making profit,” Curren said. “Retailers count on promotional events like Black Friday to draw you into the store believing that once you are there, you will notice and purchase other merchandise. “
Ultimately, shopper turnout during this year’s earlier sale times will determine if pre-Black Friday hours are welcome at the Thanksgiving dinner table.