Black Friday has never been my thing. I’m not an early riser. There is no thrill of the hunt for me. I’m never organized enough for the December holidays to even know what I should put on a list. And nothing I want (or want brought into my house) is a Doorbuster anyway.
I’m afraid though that I am outnumbered in my generation, because it is during the GenX transition to adulthood that America has seen the rise of Black Friday and the emergence of what I am calling Even Blacker Thursday.
Nigel Tufnel said, “It’s like, how much more black could this be?” referring to an album cover, of course. But it also could be applied to what has become of Black Friday. And the answer is, “How much blacker would you like it to be?”
There’s a piece showing up in my Facebook feed from the Huffington Post on stores that will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, including quotes from the retailers justifying their decisions. They may be in a heated race to attract shoppers, but I had a little fun thinking about how they compete on their key messages.
Heaviest on Marketing-Speak Award — Kohl’s
“Kohl’s will be the most compelling shopping destination for the entire family this holiday season with our strong portfolio of sought-after national and private brands, our extensive online assortment and a deep list of exciting products that are new to Kohl’s this year.”
Did this guy lift this right from his presentation in the C-suite? I especially love the phrase “most compelling shopping destination,” and the idea that Kohl’s consumers would consider a store’s “portfolio of sought-after national and private brands,” when planning their post-dinner pursuits.
Most Like an Onion Article Award — JC Penney
“In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, we have many exciting activities and giveaways planned to show just how much we appreciate the hard work and dedication of our associates. Activities and giveaways include swag bags full of goodies, round-the-clock food to keep associates fueled for delivering excellent customer service, pep rallies to drive excitement and energy through the early morning hours of Black Friday, and drawings for fun prizes.”
Wow! I wonder if there is a line of people forming at the service desk to apply for the Thanksgiving shift. Swag bags? All-you-can-eat buffets? Pep rallies? I guess we should assume that cots in the break room aren’t part of the plan. With all that excitement, there’s no way anyone would want to sleep anyway, let alone enjoy Thanksgiving with their family and friends.
Most Honest Award — Radio Shack
“Given the customer demand for store hours on Thanksgiving last year, we made the decision to open on Thanksgiving. It gives us the opportunity to stay competitive.”
If you’re going to disregard an American original, at least be honest about it, right?
Most Prophetic — Big Lots
“Big Lots listens to its customers, and based on their feedback, Big Lots stores have been open on Thanksgiving for over 20 years. This year is no different.”
Not only does Big Lots pat themselves on the back for their open ear policy regarding customers, they trump all other retailers in their prophecy made two decades ago that America would come to this.
Thursday-Is-The-New-Friday Award — Walmart
“Black Friday is no longer an event for customers who wake up at the crack of dawn to get good deals.”
Get with it, people. Black Friday hasn’t begun in the wee hours of the morning for a while now. If you want to roll back the prices on your shopping list, you’d better get on board with a new concept of time. Geez!
Vicious Cycle Award — Macy’s
“We work diligently to staff Thanksgiving with associates who volunteer to work and doing so means that our people are able to make their own decisions about how they contribute to our most important and busiest weekend of the year. We also heard last year from many associates who appreciated the opportunity to work on Thanksgiving so they could have time off on Black Friday. Additionally, associates who work an opening shift on Thanksgiving will be compensated with incentive pay.”
How kind of them to make it possible for their employees to shop Black Friday by working on Thanksgiving. You can at least say that Macy’s isn’t biting the hand that feeds.