NYT has a front-page story about how there's been push back among consumers - and even some retailers - on opening stores at midnight, or in Wal-Mart's case, keeping them open all day on Thanksgiving (Blaack Friday sales begin at 10 p.m.). For years, chain stores opened their doors at 4 or 5 a.m., creating a kind of social ritual in which folks line up in mall parking lots for hours in advance. This seemed nutty enough. But opening at midnight means that some shoppers will go straight from the holiday meal to the stores - undoubtedly creating all-new traditions. The Times has found people who have problems with this:
Part of the objection is inconvenience. To be at or near the front of the line, shoppers say they will now have to leave home hours earlier -- in the middle of the turkey dinner for some. But the wider objections reflect sentiments like those of the Occupy Wall Street movement, including a growing attention to the rights of workers and a wariness of decisions by big business. Either way, many in the shop-till-you-drop crowd have had enough with Black Friday creep.
One retail executive sounded sad about the decision to open earlier. Brian Dunn, the chief executive of Best Buy, said that the midnight opening "became an operating imperative for us" after competitors moved their openings back. "I feel terrible," he said. A handful of retailers are holding out, like J. C. Penney, which will open at its usual 4 a.m. on Friday. "We wanted to give our associates Thanksgiving Day to spend with their families," said Bill Gentner, senior vice president for marketing.
They're dragging Occupy Wall Street into this? Frankly, the harumphing is much ado about not much, a controversy imagined by editors in NY. This year, more than ever, consumers are looking for heavily promotional items, and retailers, more than ever, are looking for shoppers. Sounds like one of those win-win situations. Plus, last I checked, department store employees pick up a few extra bucks for working holidays, and in many cases volunteer for the assignment. So what exactly is the problem?