Does Black Friday shopping really need to start on Thursday afternoon?

If you’ve worked in retail, a restaurant, or any service industry, chances are you’ve worked on a holiday. One job I had in college, as a check-out clerk and cashier working in the video rental department at Wherehouse Music in Fullerton, California, I had to work on Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Major bummer, but the manager was kind enough to schedule our shifts so we could be home with family at least part of the day. The store was busy, and even as a teenager I understood that the company was open only because there would be customers spending money.

But I always regretted missing out on memories and shared meals with aunts and uncles I’d see only once a year, especially when even double-time pay totaled a whopping $7 an hour, before taxes. And I couldn’t help but wonder that if corporate decided to close the store on the holidays, would customers really be that upset? Wouldn’t the average person plan ahead and come in the day before to rent two or three movies?

I’ll get to the point here, and ask that you share your opinion in the comments section.

Do you feel that Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Kohl’s and other retailers need to open Thursday afternoon/evening to give shoppers a head-start on the Black Friday sales? 

It used to be tradition for friends I know to get up before the crack of dawn the Friday after Thanksgiving, stop at Starbucks and then head straight for the mall. Some went for the $199 flat screen TV, others went for the free gift cards with purchase to the first 100 shoppers. These friends made it a girls’ morning out, and went out for breakfast after scoring the deals.

But now, bargain hunters are being asked to give up time with family to get to the nearest big box store, only to shop for more stuff to give the people they left at home to finish the pumpkin pie.

In states where it is illegal for stores to open on Thanksgiving, I doubt that Christmas gift budgets are blown solely because they miss out on Thursday sales. (If you’re a resident of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, please share with us how you’ll pass the time after the turkey dinner. My hunch is you’ll be doing what we all did 10 years ago: taking a walk around the neighborhood, watching movies or football, and enjoying seconds as you lounge around in comfy sweats.)

And to Costco, Guitar Center, Home Depot, Nordstrom, TJ Maxx and another 20 or so stores that will not be open on Thanksgiving, a big Thank You. I’ll be shopping at your stores the weekend after Thanksgiving.

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