Retailers opening on Thanksgiving, bad PR?

This year, you might have noticed several big-name retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving to start Black Friday deals, many as early as 8pm. Why are they doing this? Some believe the jump start on shopping will benefit the economy, others say it’s becoming more of a holiday norm. While these might be reasons to consider, what the retailers don’t seem to notice is that breaching into early holiday shopping has caused some-what of a PR mess.

Lets look at this issue from a consumers perspective. I think we can all agree that Thanksgiving is not about buying a laptop for 100 cheaper, but about spending time with family and friends. And this is exactly what many Americans are agreeing with. They are complaining that the new opening hours are ruining the Thanksgiving spirit. This kind of attitude surely cannot help a business’s image if people think they are ruining Thanksgiving. Although you could look at it this way: Is it the people who feel that they need to shop at 8pm on Thanksgiving the ones who are ruining Thanksgiving? Surely another way to think of things.

Not only do i think this is bad external PR, but its also hurting the companies internally. With the exception of a few that want the extra cash, many of the employees are complaining about having to work on this holiday. The companies are saying they are family-friendly, yet making their employees work on a holiday that is suppose to be spent with their family. This is not going over well with those who want to celebrate Thanksgiving the traditional ways. Some employees of the big box retailers have even launched an online protest via urging retailers to remain closed on Thanksgiving. From a PR standout, it’s crucial that these companies show their employees that they are more important than a small increase in holiday sales. If they don’t, it makes them seem like a scrooge.

I personally think its ridiculous to shop on thanksgiving, and i do believe that retailers are pressuring consumers to shop on this holiday by opening up early. I feel like consumers wouldn’t feel like they had to shop on thanksgiving if retailers just waited till the early morning of actual Black Friday. As a consumer, i see retailers not being compassionate, especially when i see people working at a time when they should be with their loved ones. Maybe if the executives of these companies skipped the pumpkin pie and went to work as well, i’d feel a little better.


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