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What Does Black Friday's Creep on Thanksgiving Say About American Retail?

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:39 PM
Original message
What Does Black Friday's Creep on Thanksgiving Say About American Retail?

from Minyanville:



What Does Black Friday's Creep on Thanksgiving Say About American Retail?
By Michael Comeau Nov 23, 2011 4:05 pm

Black Friday may be a success, but it's also a guaranteed margin killer.


Have you ever worked on Thanksgiving?

I have, and it really stinks. Back in 1996, I spent Thanksgiving afternoon manning the produce department at a Key Food supermarket in Brooklyn, NY. I alternated between being absolutely furious that I wasn't with my family pigging out and watching football, and rolling my eyes at grown men (and they were all men) buying frozen turkeys at 4:00 in the afternoon.

And so I feel horrible for the employees of retail chains like Wal-Mart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY), and the Gap (GPS) that will be heading to work as early as 10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night to serve the first of the 152 million shoppers that the National Retail Federation expects to be out hunting through the long weekend.

A produce aisle is pretty slow on Thanksgiving -- all I had to do was keep the potato bins full. These people, on the other hand, will be busting their butts all night stocking shelves, endlessly ringing up purchases, and stopping savages from killing each other over TVs or laptops, all while suffering from turkey-induced food comas. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/black-friday-amazon-black-friday-black/11/23/2011/id/38057



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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. I think it says more about the consumer than the retailer. Materialism
that is catered to by the retailer.

If no one shopped they wouldn't open.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
14. On the other hand, if no one was open, nobody would shop
There is a certain chicken-or-egg quality to it, but I think the onus is on the retailers here. There is no crying consumer "need" being met by the selling frenzy that Black Friday has become.

I think it's similar to other postulates in our "free market" economic system. Postulates like one's salary is set by immutable, undeniable laws. The argument is put forward that big-shot CEOs make ginormous salaries because they're the ones doing the yeoman's work as captains of industry to drive our economic engines. Besides, companies need to pay these salaries to keep the top talent and ensure their own profitability. When it's pointed out that the CEO makes 200 times what the line worker makes, the usual response is a shrug, as if to say (without saying) that the CEO does work that's 200 times (or greater) more important than what the lowly grunt in Sector J is doing. Questioning that received wisdom (received from where, I wonders) marks one as a commie socialist.

Retailers keep pushing the opening hour of their Big Sale Day back in order to gain a perceived edge on their competitors. Toward that end, they advertise heavily, ginning up a buyers' frenzy that wouldn't exist otherwise. Indeed, in the days before Black Friday passed from an industry by-word to common usage, there was no similar buyers' frenzy. People are stampeded into buying things they don't need for people they don't like to satisfy a compulsion they don't have.
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IamK Donating Member (514 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #14
25. never seen "Postulates like one's salary is set by immutable, undeniable laws" &
ginormous in the same message...
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. I am a singular poster
A legend in my own mind.
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sammytko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
19. I agree - someone wants to be out there
Look at all the fools that line up for the latest Apple product or whatever.
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #19
35. And parents took pre-teens to midnight releases of
the Harry Potter books.

Madness !!!!!
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
29. It's a co-dependent type of relationship
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. It is all about GREED!
It's about maximizing the Black Friday sales. All sales made on Thursday will be credited to Fridays date. This is being done so the "Black Friday" sales will beat last years sales.

Getting more out us, getting more out of the employee.


GREED!
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #10
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:00 PM
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. That is what Black Friday stand for
Which until this year the retailers never advertised it as such. It was Friday After Thanksgiving, Blitz, Door Buster and other terms.

They still could get the same sales by opening up Friday morning and not Thursday night. It is about more hours to make the Black Friday sales sheets fatter than they were the year before. What will they all do next year, Sales start on Wednesday?

Yes it is GREED! And the big box stores are not concerned about if their workers eat or they would allow them to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

It is about the 1% making more from the 99%.

And we all fall in line and bust down their doors and hand over our hard earned cash for a presumably cheap price on a TeeVee! This is one that I will be sitting out, trimming the tree so that when the big box retailer decides my wife can escape for a few hours, she can come home and and know there is still a reason for the season!

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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. Desperation
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DefenseLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
4. It says workers don't have the leverage to get the holiday off. n/t
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #4
30. yep. I wonder if they'll get double pay like in the old days
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iscooterliberally Donating Member (228 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
5. I hate shopping in normal times.
There is no way I'm going shopping on black friday. To me it's a warning to just stay away. The only way to 'save money' is to not spend it. I guess it's fun for some people, but I would rather that no one has to work so I don't go. I understand that folks have to make money but there are more important things in life like actually spending some time to enjoy it.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
6. I hate that day more with each passing year.
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Dawson Leery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
7. Americans have a dangerous addiction, much more dangerous than
most drug addictions. Consumerism.

PBS had a series called Affluenza in 1996 that discusses this problem

http://www.pbs.org/kcts/affluenza/

"Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth."

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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
8. I've been a flight attendant and a nurse
so yes, I've worked on Thanksgiving. Retail though?? I will never understand that. Being with family/friends is way more important then the ability to buy some cheap crap made overseas 12 hours earlier than normal.
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Dawson Leery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. A nurse is vital and pays well.
Who wants to work an executives schedule without similar compensation?
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Yes, I agree
I just hope that enough people DON'T shop at those stores to make it un-worthwhile (my own word!!) for them them to not repeat this next year. I won't hold my breath though.
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Dawson Leery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. There is a myth of something called "holiday pay" going around.
When in retail, I was never paid such doing the holiday season.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I want to go back to school and get my MBA.
I decided I'm going to write my thesis to dispell the myth of black Friday, "holiday pay" and what the real impact that such cheaply had goods have on consumers and employees.
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #18
32. nice
once you get your grade on your thesis, share it here. :)

The only people I know that get "holiday pay" are in unions (and we know how many are in union jobs).
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. I get holiday pay
I'm a nurse. If I work the holiday, I can either take the holiday pay in money or time. When I worked as a per diem nurse, I would get time and a half for working the holiday. I am very lucky. My husband is in a union, IBEW. He does not work the holiday nor the day after and also gets no pay for that day nor the next. He does not get vacation pay nor sick pay as well. My hospital is non-union.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
15. Actually it says people are assholes.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
20. What does it say about Americans?
That we've allowed ourselves to become so brainwashed into being the uber-consumer that we're now willing to get up in the middle of the night, go out on holidays, all in order to shop.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
22. It shows that retailers are very anxious about whether Americans will spend this year.
Given the stock market just fell out of bed, and lots of people will be cutting back, they may be right to worry.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
23. That the system is broken at fundamental levels
Btw, I need to get a few trinkets. Ok cookies for guards and others and a couple cards. I'll get that done today. I'll avoid Te stores after black Friday.
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Modern_Matthew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
24. It's days like this that I long for the proletariat dictating for all stores to be closed. nt
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The Genealogist Donating Member (495 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
26. I predict that one year soon, Thanksgiving will be the biggest shopping day
And Thanksgiving will eventually become like Presidents' Day, where most people don't celebrate the meaning of the holiday. Rather people will shop, avoid shopping, or go to work for Thanksgiving. Some people will still celebrate the day, as some people still celebrate Presidents' Day, but I think it will be considered quaint to do so.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #26
33. Yes it's already started. Toys R Us will be open 9:00 pm Thanksgiving
for shopping. x(
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Angry Dragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
27. 'Have you ever worked on Thanksgiving?'
Was in a union, worked in a bakery for years
Worked all the holidays so people could and would have fresh product for the day after the holiday
Worked Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Easter, all of them
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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
31. Who are these people that want to shop at midnight on Turkey Day?
Or even 4am on the day after?

I don't get it.

I also don't understand why Christmas decorations and music are now going up in stores immediately after the pumpkins from Halloween come down. We really don't need two months of "holiday cheer."
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Dawson Leery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #31
36. Target brought out the Christmas stuff in mid-October.
The same for Rite-Aid.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
37. Companies are getting away with forcing employees
to work all sorts of insane hours

BECAUSE EVERYBODY'S AFRAID TO QUIT
& TELL THE COMPANY TO GO FUCK ITSELF

because jobs are so hard to find
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peacefreak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
38. I am working my two retail jobs on Friday.
Both mandatory. I'm just grateful they aren't making me come in tomorrow.
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