In recent years, a frustrating trend has developed: “Black Friday” deal times have gotten earlier and earlier. “Early Bird” no longer means arriving at a store at 6 A.M. or 8 A.M. the day after Thanksgiving. It no longer means lining up at midnight or two o’ clock in the morning to get the special “Doorbuster” deals. Each year, the times have been pushed back earlier and earlier… and now Black Friday has expanded into Thanksgiving Thursday.
Last year, some stores made headlines (none too positive) for opening their doors Thursday evening to get the first gush of customers in. And despite the fact that many criticized these businesses for opening on Thanksgiving Day, the numbers don’t lie: they brought in considerable business. This year, even more companies are getting the party started early—seriously early.
Kmart recently announced that it would be opening at 6 A.M. on Thanksgiving morning and would stay open for 41 hours straight. Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and other stores have also announced plans to open before the clock strikes midnight.
“It’s very tragic to me to see stores that [are] increasingly opening on the holiday, which is not only a stress to people who are planning on shopping, but also for the workers,” said Nadja Gutowski, who started a boycott petition for Kmart and other retailers opening on Thanksgiving. “We all want the sales, but can you just hold them until Friday?”
A few stores are holding their ground, supporting employees’ and customers’ right to family time on Thanksgiving. Costco, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Nordstrom are among the few that are refusing to give in to the Black Friday on Thursday madness.
“Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families,” said Costco’s VP of membership and marketing, Paul Latham. “Nothing more complicated than that.”
“Maybe call me old fashioned, but I feel that it’s an easy decision to make [to stay closed on Thanksgiving],” chimed in Laura Sen, CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club.
Unfortunately, many stores do not share viewpoints with Sen and Latham—and asking for time off during the holiday season is often a big no-no for retail workers. Until shoppers take a stand and choose not to give in to those Thursday deals, though, Black Thursday may be here to stay.