In the past few years, consumer feelings towards Black Friday sales have become more passionate and varied. Beginning in the wee hours on the Friday after Thanksgiving, holidays shoppers have turned out in huge numbers, making it the most profitable day of the year for some businesses. As enthusiasm for Black Friday grows, it has prompted retail chains to open earlier and earlier every year, some even as early as 12am. This year, a large number of stores are opening on Thanksgiving itself, some as early as 8am. This in turn has caused something of a backlash. Corporate greed and the political war on the working class are already out of control, and now they want to steal Thanksgiving Day too? This cannot stand! is the battle cry.
But these are big corporations who get whatever they want, whenever they want, and we are just the lowly American public. What are we supposed to do about it?
Well, we can start by not going shopping on Thanksgiving. It’s simple economics: if these stores weren’t making money by opening on Thanksgiving Day, they wouldn’t be implementing this policy. If you don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving, then there’s no reason for them to open their doors.
If you want to take it one step further, you can boycott all the stores that are open on Thanksgiving specifically for Black Friday sales (not counting stores with established 24/7 business models like certain gas stations and grocery stores). How long your personal boycott of these stores lasts is up to you, but to be really effective it should probably run at least through the weekend.
Finally, if you want to take your protest nuclear, consider boycotting the stores open on Thanksgiving for all your Christmas shopping needs. Instead, take your business to these stores, which have made a pledge to stay closed on Thanksgiving this year. A drop in business for one day or one weekend could be a fluke, but a season-long slump? That is going to raise some bushy white eyebrows in the board room for sure.
Boycotts of stores with bad “Black Thursday” policies is not a bad place to begin, but it is a passive protest. There are a hundred reasons why you might not shop at a particular store, from inconvenient location to budgetary restrictions. But if you take your business to a competitor, that sends a much more specific message. As they say, money talks. So this holiday season, make sure your money is speaking in line with your values.
And if you do find yourself running to the store for a forgotten gallon of milk or filling up an empty tank of gas this Thursday, be extra nice to the employees no matter what kind of rush you’re in. Their presence allows you to have a good Thanksgiving, so don’t forget to be thankful.