Editorial: Black Friday shouldn’t start on Thanksgiving

KmartBlackFridayComic.jpgHoliday all-nighters should be about burning the midnight oil with family, playing games, drinking hot chocolate and eating leftovers. It should not be about standing in line, fighting the cold and racing for the last big-screen TV.

This year, K-mart and its sister store Sears are leading the way in a shopping marathon that forces Black Friday onto Thanksgiving Day, and many holiday purists are not happy about it.

The stores have changed their hours for the worse. K-mart customers can shop for 41 hours straight, starting at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and running until 11 p.m. on Black Friday. Sears stores will be open from 8 p.m. on Thursday until 10 p.m. on Friday.

Last year was only the second year Sears has been open on Thanksgiving, while K-mart has been going at it for 22 years. This chronic invasion on holiday cheer is unacceptable because some employees, holiday hires or otherwise, will be forced to work on one of the two holidays left that should be devoted solely to family time.

K-mart and Sears claim that all sales associates working on Thanksgiving Day are holiday hires or have volunteered to work.

While this may be the case for some employees, most workers don’t want to forfeit their holidays. Being open puts those employees who are desperate for money in a predicament.

They may not want to work but unfortunately are not in a position to turn down work because they need to provide for their families.

It is inevitable that some employees will be forced to work because so many others have chosen not to. Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows this is how it goes, especially when you are a new member of a sales team.

While we commend Sears for at least allowing its employees to have most of the day off, overall, Thanksgiving should not be a day to punch the clock.

When it comes to some hardcore bargain hunters who participate in the Black Friday madness, the extra 18 hours to bust through the aisles of a discount store is music to their ears.

Stores such as K-mart and Sears should not encourage people to disregard holidays. Customers and stores should also realize that part of the fun of Black Friday is the time constraints on finding bargains.

It’s a game and the hunt is half of the excitement. Opening stores a day early forces people who want to get deals to forfeit their holiday to get there before the merchandise runs out.

Sears and K-mart stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and Puerto Rico will not be open on Thanksgiving Day because of state and territorial laws that place restrictions on retail store hours during holidays.

It is great that some parts of the country are not giving into the money madness driving these types of stores. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday times, tradition should trump rights as a business.

More states should follow suit and adopt such regulations.

For people who must get their shopping fix on Thanksgiving Day, the simple solution is to shop online.

This way, stores can close but still have a source of revenue for the 24 hours they are out of service and it wont put employees or pressured shoppers in any sort of conundrum. Let’s leave Black Friday to Friday.