The evolution of Black Friday (and the de-evolution of Thanksgiving)

How did we lose Thanksgiving? I understand that stores want to begin their Christmas decorations and sales earlier, so we as Americans became acclimatized to seeing Santa right after Halloween concluded. So as the veterans and the turkeys get pushed out of the way, there’s a whole lotta focus to the end of December and the gifts that need to be bought. However, no one seemed to realize that once Thanksgiving is over, there’s an entire month that the shoppers have in order to seek out the best bargains and acquire the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

Thanksgiving falls on a great date when you think about it. The last Thursday in the month of November. Why is that an awesome date? Because it allows for a long weekend after you’ve visited family and friends and expressed your “thankfulness”. Apart from schmucks like me (I’m working today, albeit from home), the Friday following Thanksgiving allows for everyone to wake up, get a coffee, and calmly get in line at their favorite store, even if it’s at 5am. But retailers began to go earlier and earlier in their store hours (Door Busters is a very popular catchphrase this year) until they intruded right into the meals. So it’s no longer Black Friday, is it? And Black Thanksgiving has kinda a creepy and dark connotation to it.

I was driving home last night from Chicago’s south suburbs with my wife and kids after celebrating Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle’s house. As we drove in the late night, I was lamenting of the traffic on the Tri-State Tollway and full parking lots at various stores as we passed them by. Turning to my wife, I mentioned how nice it will be to get home, put the little ones to bed, and relax afterwards being as we are not the type of family who rushes out Thanksgiving night to buy up presents.

What does she do when we get home? Yep, throws on her coat and explains that there’s a sale at Target she simply cannot let pass by. Christ! After my rant in the car, she takes off and doesn’t get back until after midnight. Oh well, I can’t win this battle either.
I can’t alter the retailing giants nor the spending habits of millions of consumers, but I would like to hope that eventually there will be a backlash and we could potentially revert some of these “door busters” to their proper place. After all, it’s got a whole day named after it, doesn’t it?

Oh, and I wouldn’t be remiss if I didn’t wish everyone a (belated) Happy Thanksgiving!

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