By now, most Americans are well aware of the retail chaos that strikes after Thanksgiving. People are trampled as they run into stores like third-class Titanic passengers thrashing to escape the sinking lower decks. Fights over plastic products fill the aisles of giant retail chains, and every year, Americans are shot, stabbed, and bludgeoned amid the chaos. Such altercations have inspired the creation of a website called blackfridaydeathcount.com, which tracks deaths and injuries incurred during the decidedly American ‘holiday.’
Every Christmas season, American corporations recoup profits lost over the other eleven months of the year, and it seems that every year, the designated shopping craze creeps up more quickly—and more insidiously. Many consumers have expressed apprehension toward the decisions of many stores to keep their doors open on Thanksgiving, when Black Friday is only hours away. The new trend has caused employees to miss out on time with their families and led consumers to recoil at the opportunism of stores which remain open on a sacrosanct American holiday. Apparently, the fanatic fiending of some American consumers does have a limit.
—Crate & Barrel
—Pier 1 Imports
—Barnes & Noble
—Bed, Bath & Beyond
—Sur la Table
Several other retailers are also closing their doors. Many companies, a number of which were closed on the holiday last year, have issued press releases notifying consumers of their deference to Thanksgiving.
Gamestop offered an explanation to that effect: “We believe strongly that our customers and associates should have the opportunity to spend the Thanksgiving holiday relaxing with family and friends, and not worrying with the stress of where to find the best shopping deals, a press release said. “We know this is in stark contrast to what many other retailers are doing, but we are taking a stance to protect family time during this important holiday.”
Nordstrom, which regularly stays closed for the holiday, has previously commented on its reasoning. “This is how we’ve approached the holidays as long as anyone here can remember,” Nordstrom spokesman Colin Johnson said in 2013. “We’ve received positive feedback in the past.”
One store, REI, has taken it a step further, vowing to stay closed on Black Friday, as well. “While the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we hope to see you in the great outdoors,” read a statement from the active lifestyle outfitter.
Some have criticized these closures as a marketing ploy intended to further profits by appearing responsive to consumer concerns. Further, it has been shown that remaining open on Thanksgiving does not substantially increase profits, which might be another reason why so many stores are willing to stay shut. Nevertheless, the effect remains the same: consumers tired of wasting the holiday waiting in lines with impatient, aggressive shoppers are seeing fewer retail establishments feeding into the frenzy.
While America’s addiction to fanatic consumerism is unlikely to wane anytime soon, the response of these companies to consumer demands reminds us there are still some Americans who draw the line on mindless money-spending over time with family and friends.