Turkey or Walmart

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In Thursday’s USA Today:

“Thanksgiving is a day for: A) Eating turkey. B) Shopping.

If your answer is “A,” there are still some national retailers who agree — and are bragging about being closed on Turkey Day. They say it’s what employees and many customers want. Among them: Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Home Depot, Costco, BJs, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross stores.

Never mind that much of the big news this holiday season has been about major retailers, from Walmart to Target to the newest entrant, Macy’s, announcing their Thanksgiving Day shopping hours.

While it can hurt the bottom line for one day, staying closed on Thanksgiving can be a big plus, too. “I appreciate brands that make the gutsy decision to defer some revenue and stay closed,” says brand guru Erika Napoletano. “They’re celebrating their most important asset — their employees.”"


So. The latest “controversy” is whether retailers open on Thanksgiving. Just about five years ago, or so, the flap was whether retailers should open at midnight. And before that, it was whether to open at 4am on “Black Friday”.
In an economy which truly has not recovered since the Great Recession, why would we care if a retailer chooses to open or not on a holiday. After all, competition in the retail business industry requires some companies to look at their bottom lines and decide whether the profit margin will benefit from an earlier opening. In addition, most of these stores are known to hire seasonal employees. Why would  we wish to deny a teen or young adult, or a senior for that matter, to make a few extra dollars to have money to buy Christmas or Chanukah gifts for their loved ones.
If we disapprove of the early opening practice, here is a novel idea: just shut up and stay home. We are not happy if we can’t complain about things which really have no societal import. So in this, we just fall into lockstep and complain, complain, complain.
Does this make us happy? No. Will the retailer listen? No, again. Will we go shopping early? Probably, if only we can “beat the crowd” and get our own good deal. But we will still complain.
And, what of the companies which will choose to stay closed on Thanksgiving? Are they doing so out of some egalitarian position of social good? I don’t think so. After all, Lowe’s and Home Depot don’t depend on the number of Christmas trees sold for their profits. “Black Friday” for these companies is March 1, when outdoor seasonal products, like grills and mowers, are expected to sell. And for others, like Norstrom, TJ Maxx and Dillard’s, well, it’s a business decision to stay shuttered until Friday.
Ultimately, will it really matter? In the the long run, by December 15, hardly anyone will remember which companies were opened or closed. Instead, we will have moved on to the “next big issue” which will be bothering us to no end.
So there you have it, friends. Choices for you to make. Turkey? Football? Pumpkin pie? Or Walmart? Which decision will you make that will really make a difference in your lives? Or does it really matter when you think about it?
In the meantime, please pass me another piece of pie, with whipped cream? And, put the volume up? I can’t hear Al Michaels and Chris Collingsworth.
Happy Thanksgiving!


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