Are retailers ruining Thanksgiving?

Shoppers filled the aisle at the back of the Bloomington Target store last year. The discount retailer is opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night this year. (MPR File Photo/Tim Nelson)

“This year, several retailers like Target, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s have announced plans to open Thanksgiving evening for the first time. Others, like Toys R Us and Best Buy, are opening earlier on Thanksgiving than last year,” writes the AP’s Anne D’Innocenzio.

Today’s Question: Are retailers ruining Thanksgiving?

  • Chuck Charbeneau

    They wouldn’t be open if they thought the consumers wouldn’t come…but the sheep always return.

  • Jim G

    Only if you let them. Be thankful for the people, past and present, who shape the story of your life, not the stuff you buy. Have a Great Thanksgiving Holiday.

    • JasonB

      “Only if you let them”.
      Sound and simply answer that needs repeating.

  • Scott44

    Macy’s ruined Thanksgiving. Way back in the day Macy’s decided to start pushing Christmas before Thanksgiving with displays in the windows and then parades.
    Chuck, I agree with you. This year I am not buying any Christmas gifts. My Christmas will just be quite time with family and friends and my girlfriend.

  • Gary F

    There is enough blame to go around. They wouldn’t do it if people wouldn’t come. But, when you are buying someone only once, keeping a leg up on the competition is necessary. And the media more than just reporting but glorifying the shoppers that make this a sporting event are to blame too.

    Just don’t go, and stop making a sport out of Black Friday shopping, and hopefully it will go away.

  • PaulJ

    ‘Retailers’ or ‘dealers’?; pandering to human weakness and tarnishing the finer things in life.

  • kevins

    People can be thankful in a variety of different ways. Not all turkey day activities need to look like a Rockwell painting.

  • Sue de Nim

    It’s a joint effort between big business lying to us that the things they produce and sell will make us happy, and people who believe the lie. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have; consumerism is about anxiety over what we don’t have.

  • lls404

    Retailers are ruining the holidays and driving ordinary people into massive credit card debt they simply cannot manage. Our family and many of our friends have always avoided the grotesque materialism of the holidays by bundling up and heading north to our simple lake house. We are very lucky to have this house in the family. I do feel very bad for the employees at retailers such as Target, WalMart, Macy’s and elsewhere who make very little money and must endure this time of year. It’s sad.

  • Lee Jones

    They’re not putting guns to consumers’ heads, and if someone wants to go shopping, who cares? If you and yours balk at the idea of an evening shoveling cheap crap into a cart then stay at home, have a nice day together and look on with quiet disgust.

    • JQP

      the marketing equivalent of a “gun to their head” is the rock bottom pricing that is advertised. Maybe more like crack…. but its evil either way.

      • Lee Jones

        Granted, they do try and prey on people. But the great thing about freedom of speech that people can say no and switch the ad off, or turn the page of the newspaper.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No, the retailers are just meeting a demand. It’s up to the individual to decide how to spend their holiday. No one has to participate in the “ruining” of Thanksgiving.

  • david

    Yes, just like they ruined Christmas by turning it into mandatory annual gift day.

  • david

    Funny few look at this question from the employees point of view. Since the store is open, they are forced to volunteer to work, if not out right required, or else they don’t get paid. If they are lucky they might get time and a half for that day, which helps a lot when you are paid slave wages.

  • SuperMargie

    I work Thanksgiving, but I work in emergency services. We get premium pay, and if you don’t want to work on Thanksgiving there is no shortage of people that will take your shift.
    If you knew how much public safety agencies have to add to staff on a paid holiday simply to keep up with the increased demands for police and medical service at various stores that will be open, you would see that you probably are not saving all that much money. A lot of tax dollars are being spent so you can save 15 percent.

  • JQP

    Nah… who ever started the whole marketing of Christmas as the year end mandatory requirement to buy other people gifts is to blame.

    We’ve so warped American buying habits that major retailers now need a 6 week dedicated shopping season to break even. what kind of model is that.

  • AFish

    I agree that it’s a two-party ruination. First it is the retailers who convince Americans that they simply *must* own these products. Americans buy into it and create a furor over when stores will open. Cut back to the retailers, who are “meeting demand” (that they created) by opening on what should be one of our most important and sacred holidays. Thanksgiving knows no religious creed and is shared by all. Thanksgiving should be like Independence Day.

    Sadly, for Thanksgiving, there is no end in sight. There is no sign of a return to the pure joy of an untainted Thanksgiving spent with love and warmth among family.

    Post scriptum: I still find great deals in the wee hours of Friday morning (say 5 or 6 a.m.) when all the crazies have gone home to bed.

  • Sue

    Thanksgiving is becoming the “lost” holiday. It is no longer a day to give Thanks for our freedom but it has become a day of consumer greed. I shudder to think about the image we offer to a world in which freedom, food, and safety is unavailable to so many. It is tempting to blame retailers and I confess that I am sorely disappointed that some of my favorite retailers (Target comes to mind) have given in to the craziness, but I think the blame is with all of us who take so much for granted – and find it to never be enough. Our family will gather today and none of us will be heading out to buy more “stuff” we can live without.

    • JasonB

      We tend to think that retailers co-opting our traditions is a new phenomenon, but it’s as old as civilization itself. You’re right to blame ourselves. The best defense is to stand firm on your own personal commitments to whatever holiday or tradition you hold sacred, and not worry about what others are doing.

      It may be some comfort to know that the majority does not run out and shop on Black Friday. Media coverage tends to give an inflated perception of how bad it is every time we see some unruly mob fighting over $5 waffle irons.

  • Mark

    I refuse to let them – large retailers – ruin my family’s Thanksgiving holiday. If others wish to partake in the excessive purchasing and consumption of cheap crap peddled by large retailers at this time of year, then that is their choice. However, I choose not to, as does my family.

  • JasonB

    The question is worded rather strongly. Retailers are only reacting to what works, and it requires participation from consumers, ie: you and me. Nobody ruins something that is essentially voluntary and that you can avoid by not going near a retail outlet. It would be different if we were forced to buy a certain product or else get fined for not doing so (hey, that sounds familiar).

  • Billoyd Garrison

    Yes. Instead of a day to be thankful, they want it to be a day of greedy shopping. That’s not cool. Especially with all of the fights and even shootings that happen at shopping events. Thanksgiving is the one day most Americans celebrate regardless of religion and there ought to be a law made that stores cannot run black Friday events on Thanksgiving day or else why have it. It might as well be called black thursday and the black goes well with the kind of greed expressed at the events as people try to kill each other over a 720p tv.