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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Hunt for holiday gifts begins earlier
Thanksgiving signals Christmas rush
 
Published Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:07 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

The holidays are officially upon us. And with this time of year comes the mad dash to find the perfect Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. 

Traditionally, the Friday after Thanksgiving marked the start of the holiday shopping season. The most popular shopping day of the year, it was dubbed “Black Friday” because it was the day many merchants saw their bottom lines change from red to black.

The year, Black Friday is coming earlier than ever as more retailers begin sales on Thanksgiving Day. 

In the past, J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Kohl’s kept their doors closed on Thanksgiving. This year, however, each is giving in to the Black Friday Creep and opening at 8 p.m. Thursday. Kohl’s chief customer officer Michelle Gass said it is an effort to provide a better customer experience.

“Shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has become a much-anticipated tradition,” Gass said in a statement. “As many customers are eager to get a jumpstart on their shopping, we are opening our stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day as a convenience to our customers.”

Analysts say predictions of weak to modest holiday sales coupled with a shorter season are driving the shift. Whatever the reason, consumers welcome the change. The National Retail Federation estimates 33 million people will go shopping Thanksgiving Day. 

Aki Henderson of Charlotte, a longtime Black Friday shopper, is among them. 

“I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “The earlier hours are making the shopping experience safer for people… It spreads it out so things don’t get so crazy. It’s unfortunate the employees will have to work, but it’s part of the retail business and that’s what they signed up for.”

Over the years, Henderson has saved thousands shopping Black Friday sales. Her strategy is to plan ahead and prioritize. She always picks up a newspaper on Thanksgiving to browse the circulars in search of deals.

“I prioritize based on how good the deal is and how much I feel I need the item,” she said. “The electronics are usually the best deals… You can save hundreds of dollars. But with other items, sometimes the savings aren’t worth it. If you’re saving 40 percent on a $10 item, it’s really not a big deal. But if it’s a $1,000 item, then it’s a big deal.”

Regardless of how good the deals are, not everyone is on board with the Black Friday Creep. Some lament it has gone too far and is unfair to retail workers who will be unable to spend the holidays with their families.

Organizers of the “Thanksgiving Comes First” Facebook page want to send a message to “greedy corporations” that “Thanksgiving is for family, not shopping.”

One commenter wrote: “for the retailers who think that opening on Thanksgiving will help their bottom line, here’s my two cents; I won’t shop at your stores – EVER.”

Luckily, there will still be plenty of places for them to shop as a number of stores – including BJs, Ross, RadioShack, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory – have announced they will remain dark on Thanksgiving Day.

WHO’S OPEN WHEN? 

Open Thanksgiving Day: Toys ‘R’ Us opens at 5 p.m. Walmart and Best Buy open at 6 p.m. Concord Mills, Northlake Mall, SouthPark Mall, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Belk and Kohl’s open at 8 p.m. 

Open Friday: Carolina Place Mall officially opens at 6 a.m. (Some anchor stores open Thursday evening.) Old Navy opens at 9 a.m., closes at 4 p.m., reopens at 7 p.m. and remains open for 29 hours straight.

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