Black Friday backlash: Early openings a mixed blessing – Nov. 15, 2011

Black Friday backlash: Early openings a mixed blessing – Nov. 15, 2011.

Now I’m a gal who likes to shop, but when I read the above article a couple of days ago, I have to say it made me a little concerned. Yes, I understand businesses want to make money, and I suppose one could argue that the employees who work on a holiday earn higher wages (which during these hard times they perhaps need)…still, one has to wonder: if these shops didn’t open at 11pm on Thursday, would they really make less money in the long run over the holiday season? Will the people who go shopping at 11pm on Thanksgiving simply not go shopping at all if the stores don’t open then? It might be that the shops do come out slightly ahead with this early Black Friday strategy, but my guess is that the same people who get up at 4am on Black Friday to wait in line are the same ones who will go at 11pm on Thanksgiving Day. And now that the store is opening at that time, they’ll have no choice but to go on Thanksgiving Day if they want to catch the best deals. I understand people want to save money and get good deals, but I have to wonder, what are we as a country really paying for all this cheap stuff when one considers the ramifications of what this means not only for the Thanksgiving holiday, but possibly other American holidays, too?

The lack of vacation time for workers in the US and the fact that there are only a  handful of days (at best) left in the year when  almost all shops are closed for public holidays means Americans are already dreadfully lagging behind their European counterparts in terms of quality relaxation time with their families. After having lived and worked in the UK for a number of years, I came to really appreciate what it means to have actual vacation time. My British colleagues where shocked and appalled when I told them that I had to work an entire year before I earned any real vacation time, and that allotment was pretty measly once I did receive it (and that that was 100% normal). And now, living in (at least this part of) Germany, every shop is closed every Sunday, every week. In case you didn’t catch that, EVERY SUNDAY, EVERY WEEK.  While I find it a little extreme to have ALL the shops closed for an entire day every week (no less the weekend, when one might actually have the time and energy to get some shopping down!), I do appreciate that it guarantees at least one day out of the week when most families can spend time together. Yes, doctors and nurses and firemen (and servers and cooks, too, as restaurants and cafes are open) still have to work, but most families have a day together without working or running errands.  And I also appreciate that the major holidays in Germany are taken pretty seriously, too…I don’t think there’s any chance stores here are going to open at 11pm on Christmas Day just so shoppers can get started early on the after-Christmas sales!

So I just have to wonder…are we Americans digging our own “holiday/vacation” grave by allowing shops to open on Thanksgiving Day? Are we making an already bad situation worse by eroding yet another holiday (that I always thought was supposed to be a day about family and rest and being thankful for what you already have) into just another day to spend money? I fear once the floodgates are open, it won’t be long before the next American holiday is under attack and open for business as usual.

What do you think? Would you ever or will you go shopping on Thanksgiving Day? Does it concern you that shops are starting to open on a public holiday?

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About bittenbythebug

I love travel and have always been fascinated by other cultures. Back in 2004, I began my life as an expat in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fast forward 5 1/2 amazing years later to 2010 and the new chapter in my expat adventure: Würzburg, Germany.
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2 Responses to Black Friday backlash: Early openings a mixed blessing – Nov. 15, 2011

  1. Lindsey says:

    I was spoiled by my generous holiday leave in the UK too! One thing I’ve found shocking in my current job is that some of my colleagues don’t even take all of the measly 10 days annual leave that they have. They claim they have “no where to go anyway.” This has never been my problem — always too many places to go and people to see! I do love to travel, but usually I do it with people I love or to visit people I love, so it’s totally about quality time. I think in the US we should take all we can get and demand more!

    I’m not much of a shopper, so no problem with me if nothing’s open on Thursday. I won’t be going anywhere… Though in college when I worked at a movie theater Thanksgiving was a huge day for us, most everyone had to work it. Christmas too. Families like to spend quality time at the movies on major holidays. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Lindsey. Happy Thanksgiving!

      Wow, that is sort of surprising that your co-workers don’t even take what little annual leave they receive. Do you think maybe with so few days, they feel like if they take time off they might actually start to unwind and relax only to realize it’s over and they have to go back already?? I know that was sort of how I felt about taking my vacation time in the US. It was almost more of a hassle to have to prepare everything to be away, and then I’d be away for only a short time before I’d have to be back. Not that that prevented ME from taking it, though. I didn’t waste a single day!

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