Most of us, this time of year, start to plan how will organize our shopping. We begin by making list of what to buy and for whom … where to make our purchases and how early we need to start.
A couple years ago, with a daring sense of adventure, I agreed to venture out with my daughter-in-law to do a midnight Black Friday excursion. With list in hand we headed to the local Wal-Mart. On “final approach” we found that the store was on lockdown by the police – stemming from the fact that the “first 15” shoppers had exhausted the “door opening” specials – which led to misbehaving adults acting out in violence toward each other. Our next stop was a Best Buy where we were amused by the 150-plus shoppers in line for chance at ten TV’s at bargain-basement prices.
This week I read an article by Chris Tomlinson that flipped the context, in my mindset, from shopper to shoppee … meaning the retail store employees. Chris took to task several stores this year that decided to open on Thanksgiving day. I was pleased by his opinion that the practice took employees away from their families. “Customer convenience” was the reason given by the upscale Houston shopping center spokesman about some stores’ plans to remain open continuously from 6 PM on Thanksgiving day through 1 AM on Black Friday. Tomlinson added a couple of metrics that, to me, added to the folly of taking employees from their families:
- 68% of holiday shoppers are “showrooming”… checking out items while fully intending to buy cheaper online
- “shoppers” using mobile devices (from home with families) on Thanksgiving will exceed mobile device purchases made on Black Friday.
While the rationale for more store hours is convenience for the shopper I wonder how our parents and grandparents got it all bought without the Internet? The truth is, we consumers are the reason some stores open on Thanksgiving; if we “voted” for Thanksgiving as a valued sacrosanct family gathering, no one would be in the stores, right?
Still, I applaud Nordstrom’s, Home Depot, Costco, Lowe’s and Dillard’s … they will not be open here on Thanksgiving day. Their decision reflects their values … that a better bottom line is secondary to the conviction that family comes first. I think that spirit of caring will be reciprocated during the real test of employees when there are 4-3-2-1 days left to shop!