November 13, 2013

Misty Watson: Farewell to Black Friday?

Stores are gearing up for the biggest shopping day of the year.

They’re announcing their hours and releasing their sale items for Black Friday.

Only — when did Thanksgiving turn into Black Friday?

Major retailers are announcing Black Friday hours and deals that begin earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day. Toys R Us is scheduled to open at 5 p.m. Walmart and Best Buy are scheduled to open at 6 p.m. Target, Staples, Sears, OfficeMax, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney are among stores opening at 8 p.m. Many of these same stores opened at midnight last year.

And Kmart plans to start deals at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Amazon.com has already started lightning deals.

Isn’t Thanksgiving supposed to be about giving thanks and being happy for what we have? Leave it to Americans to take a day of thanks and turn it into a shopping circus.

Even someone as sarcastic and cynical about “made up” holidays as I am takes time out to sit down to a dinner with family on Thanksgiving. I even occasionally spout out something real I’m thankful for instead of my usual remarks of “indoor plumbing, clean sheets, flip-flops and chocolate.”

How can you enjoy a day of forcing yourself to get along with family while overstuffing yourself on the Tofur ... Er, turkey I mean ... if you are trying to fly out the door for a deal?

It’s just another sign of how overly commercialized Christmas has become — as if the Christmas decorations in October before the leaves even changed weren’t sign enough.

Corporate America tells you to buy on Thanksgiving if you want the best deals. Instead of standing up and saying, “No. You’re not going to take this day off work and with my family away from me,” we get in line three hours in advance of the sale.

Thanksgiving dinner becomes a rushed Thanksgiving brunch.

A story in the Los Angeles Times says “It’s a sign of how far nervous merchants are willing to go to court tightwad consumers whose confidence has been dampened by a tepid economic and employment climate.”

Some defend the move of Black Friday deals and the extended hours saying there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year since Thanksgiving falls on the 28th. I’m just not sure that two hours is going to really give you that much time.

Others say it spreads Black Friday out, meaning less chaos and less waiting in line. Many stores have deals that go live at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, another set of deals that go live at 8 p.m. and more that go live at 8 a.m. on Black Friday. So theoretically you’d just get to the store for the sale on the item you cannot live without.

On Thanksgiving, I plan to stuff my mouth with food, watch some football, prop my feet up and enjoy being in a cabin in the mountains with my in-laws. I’ll leave the shopping to everyone else. I refuse to participate in the madness.

But if you find a good deal on a child’s indoor trampoline, will you please let me know?

Murray County native Misty Watson is a staff writer and photographer for The Daily Citizen. You can connect with her at mistywatson@daltoncitizen.com, facebook.com/MistyWatsonDCN or on Twitter, @mistydwatson.

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