I remember, as a child, the day after Thanksgiving was a day spent at home, watching Saturday Morning Cartoons, presented that Friday by the three networks, to start the Christmas toy push, and to entertain America’s children, while their parents got things done…like shopping.
Of course, those days are long since past, having been replaced by the retail siege, now known as “Black Friday”.
As I sit here writing this post, my 30 year-old step-son and 6 year-old grandson lie asleep in the guest bedroom, while my Bride and Daughter-in-law left at 5:00 this morning in the 29 degree weather to see what bargains they can find that we can’t afford.
According to dailymail.co.uk…
147 million Number of Americans expected to shop over Thanksgiving weekend
33 million Number of people shopping on Thanksgiving
4.1 Expected percentage increase of holiday sales on last year
$602.1 billion Expected retail sales for the last two months of the year
22 Percentage boost to sales over Thanksgiving weekend for stores which extended their hours last year
$816 million Amount shoppers spent on Black Friday last year
$149 million Amount shoppers spent online on Thanksgiving last year
In an unprecedented move, several “Big Box Retailers” opened their door at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Night, in an effort to make up for a late Thanksgiving this year and a still-depressed “Obamaconomy”.
Fox News reports that…
The early start to this year’s shopping mayhem did not prevent several reported violent confrontations at stores around the nation that opened up for Black Friday, which is typically considered the biggest shopping day of the year.
A New Jersey man was arrested Thursday in a Walmart and charged with disorderly conduct and aggravated assault on a police officer after allegedly arguing with a store employee over a TV, NBCNewYork.com reported.
In the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, a driver believed to be involved in a shoplifting scheme was shot by authorities after dragging a police officer who was trying to stop him in the parking lot of a Kohl’s department store late Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The suspected shoplifter and two additional suspects were arrested, police told the newspaper. Both the driver and the officer sustained injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening, according to the report.
At a Wal-Mart in the Southern California city of Rialto, a police officer was injured while trying to break up a fight after a store manager decided to open the doors early, which police said led to the melee, according to the San Bernardino County Sun.
Police said there were three fights at the store, two of which were inside over merchandise and the third outside that left the officer injured. All of the people involved in the fights were taken into custody, the newspaper reported.
In Las Vegas, a customer who had purchased a big-screen television at Target was shot in the leg while walking to a nearby apartment complex, KLAS-TV reported. The victim was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.
In the past few years, retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving night. They’ve also pushed up discounting that used to be reserved for Black Friday into early November, which has led retail experts to question whether the Thanksgiving openings will steal some of Black Friday’s thunder.
Overall, The National Retail Federation expects retail sales to be up 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion during the last two months of the year. That’s higher than last year’s 3.5 percent growth, but below the 6 percent pace seen before the recession.
Analysts expect sales to be generated at the expense of profits as retailers will likely have to do more discounting to get people into stores.
Back on November 23rd, 2011, Robert H. Frank, a Liberal Professor of Economics at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell, and the author of “The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition and the Common Good.”, wrote the following in an op ed piece in The New York Times, titled “How to End the Black Friday Madness”…
In recent years, large retail chains have been competing to be the first to open their doors on Black Friday. The race is driven by the theory that stores with the earliest start time capture the most buyers and make the most sales. For many years, stores opened at a reasonable hour. Then, some started opening at 5 a.m., prompting complaints from employees about having to go to sleep early on Thanksgiving and miss out on time with their families. But retailers ignored those complaints, because their earlier start time proved so successful in luring customers away from rival outlets.
Those rivals, of course, didn’t sit idly by. Their inevitable response was to open earlier themselves, restoring competitive balance. Other retailers began opening at 4 a.m., then 3 a.m., and, eventually, at midnight. Several malls have promoted “Moonlight Madness.” Last year Toys “R” Us opened at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving. This year, Wal-Mart will do the same. The costs to store owners and their employees and families are enormous: millions must now spend time away from home on the one occasion that all Americans, regardless of religion or cultural background, share as a family holiday.
These costs might be worth bearing if they led to even larger gains. But when all outlets open earlier, no one benefits. Few people actually want to shop in the wee hours, and the purchases that do occur then are presumably offset, dollar for dollar, by reduced sales during normal business hours. Even the shoppers who turn out for early openings seem motivated primarily by a fear that others might snap up bargains before they get there. But if all stores opened later, there would be no fewer bargains than before. In short, we have a classic collective action problem, an arms race.
Black Friday (or, more accurately, Black Thursday Night) is only hours away, so it’s too late to do anything about early openings this year. But we can start thinking about what can be done to protect our future Thanksgivings. Many societies employ “blue laws” — laws that mandate closing times, usually on Sundays. But there is a simpler, more flexible, way to approach this problem. Inspired by the 9-9-9 proposal of the Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, I call it the 6-6-6 plan — an across-the-board 6 percent national sales tax (on top of any existing state and local sales taxes) in effect from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving to 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
This plan would leave both stores and consumers free to decide for themselves whether middle-of-the-night shopping is worth it. Even if some retailers decided to stick with the early openings and even if some shoppers showed up, the country would reap a significant benefit. As every mature adult realizes, we have to tax something, and the revenue from my 6-6-6 plan would make it possible to reduce taxes on other activities that are actually useful. Best of all, it would encourage Americans to spend Thanksgiving night where they really want to — in bed.
In other words,the perfesser wants Uncle Sugar to regulate Americans’ right to decide whether to participate in shopping on Thanksgiving Night and/or Black Friday, or not, by taxing the snot out of us.
Now Dr. Franks is definitely not the first over-educated Liberal to bemoan the unbridled capitalism of the Christmas Shopping Season. NOr, will he be the last.
However, what is hypocritically hilarious about the “perfesser’s” and other “Soooper-Genius” Liberals’ protestations, is that fact that they usually live in huge homes, drive expensive cars, and draw huge salaries from either institutes of higher learning, which are, in part, funding by American Taxpayers.
And, to top if off, they are usually the first ones waiting to get in line when the stores open….and they will run you over in a heartbeat, just to get the latest I-phone.
So, here’s my thoughts on the matter…regarding shopping on Thanksgiving night…let Americans decide which they value most: time with their family…or shopping for bargains. If American’s choose to stay at home with their families, retailers will be forced to stay closed on Thanksgiving Nights…like they used to.
That is how America’s Economy was built to work, in the first place.
American Freedom…what a concept.
Until He Comes,