Black Thursday madness
Shopping on Thanksgiving? What kind of insanity is this?
Wednesday afternoon, I had to stop into Office Max. As I was leaving, I stopped to look at a table of clearance goods, and the man told me they were all going on sale the following day. Yes, for reasons known only to God and the marketing department, Office Max was opening up at 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day, staying open until 2 ungodly a.m. in the morning, closing briefly then re-opening at 5 am Friday.
Now, I know and you know that this is ridiculous. Idiotic. Absurd. Preposterous. And yet, stores all over the nation are following the lead of Wal-Mart, opening on Thanksgiving day in a lemming-like game of follow the leader.
We got home from our friends house about 7:30 Thursday night, and I was not able to contain myself. I had to go see if anyone would be lined up waiting to get into Office Max for a great deal on a box of paper clips or binder paper or whatever. The store is only 5 minutes from our house, so off I went.
To my surprise, there were perhaps 15 people politely lined up in front, most reading the flyer to decide which of the ‘doorbuster’ specials they should scramble for. The leaders had been in line for 2 hours to make sure they got the big bargains.
Promptly at 8, the doors opened and the small crowd streamed in. There were more clerks than I have ever seen in the store–I don’t know where they found them all, because I certainly did not recognize many of them and I shop there frequently. Some of the people were looking around for good deals, some knew exactly why there were there and headed directly to the objects of their desire.
The big draw seemed to be the 24″ monitors on sale for $100. That’s indeed a good price, and if I needed a new monitor I’d snap one up in a heartbeat.
I’m not much concerned about the employees not being able to enjoy the holiday–an eight o’clock opening leaves plenty of time to have dinner with the family in the afternoon. I expect that everyone was on overtime or holiday pay or both–clerking in a store isn’t a high paying profession and extra hours are usually looked at happily. I just think this is a ludicrous way to run a business.
Of course, if the store didn’t open on Thursday, people would just come on Friday for a giveaway deal. The Thursday opening is a gesture, or a media event, or just silly. I’m rooting for silly.