By Michaela Shifley –
With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, many of us are starting to pack up our bags to head for our homes and families — and then fall into food comas from Grandma’s delicious turkey dinner. But there is one other item that is also on 140 million people’s Thanksgiving “to-do” lists, including my own: Black Friday shopping (Time Magazine).
Around the country there has been a recent surge in support of banning businesses from being open during Black Friday, which paradoxically is an event that actually takes place on the Thursday evening of Thanksgiving Day. Anti-Black Friday advocates cite that it is unfair to employees that have to leave their families early Thanksgiving Day in order to go to work. While I can absolutely understand this, I would argue that, in the long run, it does more harm than good to employees if their place of business is closed during Black Friday. Black friday is the day when many businesses make most of their revenue. This in turn keeps the business in question thriving, which ultimately means that the doors stay open and employees get to keep their jobs.
According to USA Today, consumers in 2013 spent almost $12.3 billion shopping during Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday combined. That significant expenditure of consumer of dollars means that many retailers still feel justified in opening their doors during the holiday, despite protests. More than 60% of people who shop on Black Friday say that they will spend between $250 and $500 during their exhilarating rush into the stores, as according to Time, which is nothing for businesses, especially small ones, to frown upon. Almost 50% of shoppers between 18 to 24 years old think that Black Friday is a “great idea” as compared to just 16% of shoppers ages 55 and up.
If businesses can afford to take the day off and still be able to turn a profit during the rest of the holiday season, that’s fine by me. There is nothing wrong with places like Costco, Hobby Lobby, Barnes & Noble, Cabela’s, and others giving their employees more time to spend with their families. However, don’t shame the friends and family who do want to take advantage of the Black Friday sales because the odds are that they are actually helping store employees keep their jobs. I, for one, will be one of those people standing in line, eagerly anticipating the moment when the store doors open and I can rush in to grab items off the racks.