Should Holiday Shopping Start on Thanksgiving Day?

29 Nov Should Holiday Shopping Start on Thanksgiving Day?

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we can all start looking forward to Christmas, I thought I’d take a minute to look back on the Thanksgiving shopping hoopla.

If you’ve been living anywhere with access to wifi you’ve probably been seeing ads for holiday sales since before Halloween. While millennials might be okay with Black Friday taking over the weekend and expanding in to Thanksgiving Day, most adults aren’t excited about the rush towards yuletide spirit.

A recent survey by Harris Interactive of 2,038 shoppers 18 and older found that 81% of adults think stores shouldn’t play Christmas music before Thanksgiving and 77% think stores shouldn’t be decorated for the holidays until after Thanksgiving.

The ‘Christmas Creep’ has been controversial for years, but this year the PR battle between opening stores and staying closed for the holiday has taken over the media. Today several retail giants have been carrying out proactive PR plans to defend the decision to open on Thanksgiving Day.

This morning Walmart’s US CEO Bill Simon made the round of morning talk shows to discuss the retailer’s rationale for opening their doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Almost simultaneously, Walmart distibuted a press release stating that their stores had a record breaking Thanksgiving Day with 10 million cash register transactions between 6pm and 10 pm Thursday evening alone.

In the release, Simon described Black Friday as the “Superbowl of retail.” He went on to say, “We ran a play that only Walmart could deliver and our customers loved it.”

While customers may have loved slashed prices, social media suggests that they may have loved the viral entertainment more. The record number of shoppers yesterday evening sparked a hash tag “#WalmartFights” where twitter users across the country tweeted and posted photos and videos about the injuries, fights, and arrests in the first few hours of true holiday shopping.

Additionally, workers groups and union activists across the country have lodged protests against many of the big box stores, but Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, has attracted the bulk of the attention.

The overwhelming financial success of Walmart’s Thursday opening may look incredible on paper but the question for retailers remains, is it worth the PR fight?

Other major retailers like Costco and Nordstrom refused to open their doors on Thanksgiving day, claiming that the decision to stay closed and let employees spend time with family is an easy one to make.

So tell us, did you rush out to the big box stores to shop after Thanksgiving dinner? Did you post something hilarious with the hash tag #WalmartFights? Do you believe that stores should let the holiday be a holiday? We’d love to hear your take on Black Friday’s creep in to Thanksgiving Day.

Sally McHugh
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