Even the most casual consumer recognizes that we are entering the most frenetic shopping season of the year—the holidays. While Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, used to represent a clear and even start to the holiday shopping frenzy, the starting line has been continually inching forward, first into the early morning hours of Friday, then into the wee hours of Thursday/Friday night, and then into the early evening and late afternoon of Thanksgiving Day.
Of course, things haven’t stopped there. Now many stores, like Macy’s, Walmart, Sears, and Staples, have decided to be open all day on Thanksgiving. On one hand uninhibited holiday hours seem to be what many consumers want. Come Thursday, these stores will experience no shortage of shoppers; if they did, they wouldn’t be open. In the spirit of the Byrds and Solomon, however, one might ask if Thanksgiving Day should be a time for shopping.
Another significant group of national retailers has answered this question “no” and decided to remain closed all day on Thanksgiving. Those stores include T.J. Max, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Nordstrom, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Many of these stores have cited respect for their employees as their reason for remaining closed, which is a great reason. Whether or not they realize it, their closure also represents a gift to consumers.
As important as buying and selling is, it is not an activity that needs to happen all the time. The growth of ecommerce has enabled shopping at virtually any time and in any place, which is all the more reason people should take a break from it—i.e., everything in moderation. Even a good thing can become a trap if done in excess. Hitting the stores on Thanksgiving Day seems like such overload.
Furthermore, shopping on Thanksgiving runs contrary to the very nature of the holiday. How can we really focus with gratitude on the people and other blessings in our lives if our minds are consumed with our next purchases?
Giving people the opportunity to buy items they need is a good thing. So is the decision to temporarily forgo commerce in favor of more important priorities. Congratulations to the retailers who will practice Mindful Marketing by being closed this Thursday, recognizing that Thanksgiving Day is not the time for shopping.