Thursday, November 28, 2013

It's Thanksgiving. Abandon The Turkey and Head For The Malls, Say Our Retail Overlords

There is a lot of hue and cry this Thanksgiving because a lot of stores now insist on opening on the holiday to have their gawd-awful sales.
Many people inexplicably think Black Friday
stampedes like this one are fun and want to
experience it on Thanksgiving, too. 

Of course rips employees of these retailers away from their family dinners, all so that people who hate their families can flee them, go to the Walmart and buy these hated family members clothes of abysmal quality that will fall apart the first time the gift recipients try them on.

I have trouble articulating why I'm so annoyed that stores are open this year on Thanksgiving.
After all, grocery stores, movie theaters and other businesses always opened on the holiday.  But the big stores that are opening this year just seem such an escalation of ridiculous buying mentality the retailers are trying to brainwash us into.

I'm certainly not going to any of these stores to shop today. I'm instead opting to spend the day with family in West Rutland, Vermont, a town that, by the way, has no Macys,  no Walmart, no Kohls, no big retailers, period.

The big Black Friday, and now Black Thanksgiving sales always bothered me anyway. I know the crazy shoppers want to be there to be in a possibly fatal stampede so that they can get a big screen TV that will go on the fritz by February.

And if these people want to do that, fine, as long as it doesn't involve me.

Still, scenes like those in this video compilation make me sad:

Some people, and even some stores, have taken a stand against this whole mess of shopping on Thanksgiving, with mixed results. (Black Friday, with all its carnage, seems set in stone.)

I noticed a Pizza Hut manager in Indiana was fired because he refused to heed the demands of the local Pizza Hut franchise owner  that he stay open.   Because EVERYONE wants a nice big deep dish pizza for dessert after a Thanksgiving feast.

 Tony Rohr's bosses, which own several Pizza Huts in Indiana and Illinois said he quit, but not exactly.

"I am not quitting. I do not resign. However, I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company. I hope you realize that it's the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible," he told the franchise owners in a letter.

Naturally, he Pizza Hut thing went viral Wednesday and became a PR nightmare.  The Pizza Hut  Facebook page became a litany of outrage. To be fair, Pizza Hut corporate headquarters might have been blindsided with what the Indiana franchise owner did.

Pizza Hut responded to media inquiries by saying most Pizza Huts close on Thanksgiving, but independent franchisees make the decisions on whether to stay open. Pizza Hut said they wish the Indiana situation could have been avoied because they respect employees' decision not to work on Thanksgiving.

Still, Pizza Hut corporate should have issued a directive to franchisees to shut their doors today.

In a more successful vein, Costco, which actually pays its employees a halfway decent wage and treats them well. (and still manages to make a good profit, hmmmm) is closed Thanksgiving because they want to give their employees the day off. The logic, which I like, is they work hard enough during the holiday shopping season.

Nordstrom and BJ's Wholesale Club are also staying shut today. Good for them!

And you know those bargains you think you're getting on Black Thanksgiving or Black Friday? Not so much.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that toy, or appliance or sweater that's billed as "50 percent off, what a deal!!!!" was never meant be sold at the so called full price anyway. It's an illusion.  Full prices was never full price. Says the WSJ:

"The red cardigan sweater with the ruffled neck on sale for more than 40 percent off at $39.99 was never meant to sell at its $68 starting price. It was designed with the discount built in."

In other words, if you go to these Black Friday or Thanksgiving "sales" you're being played for a sucker.

But I guess people love living the illusion of getting a deal.   They like being suckers. A few retailers, like Macy's and JC Penneys, which tried to stop the Big Sale mentality found that nobody would come to their stores to shop unless they had these false sales, according to the WSJ article.

Then there are the real crazies. People have been camping out in front of stores like Best Buy for as much as 10 days before the Black Friday sales. 

They're quoted as saying they wanted to be first in line, and they'll save money, but how much money would they have made working instead of hanging out inside a tent in a wind swept, cold parking lot for a week and a half?

And if you have nothing better to do than hang out in front of a gizmo store for more than a week, you really, really need a life.

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