ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
76°
Showers
H 78° L 63°
  • cloudy-day
    76°
    Current Conditions
    Showers. H 78° L 63°
  • rain-day
    64°
    Morning
    Showers. H 78° L 63°
  • rain-day
    69°
    Afternoon
    Showers. H 70° L 45°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Black Friday creep creates shopping divide

It’s one remedy for turkey coma.

Before you reach for a second helping of Thanksgiving dinner — perhaps even before you can actually sit down to Thanksgiving dinner — the annual shopping fete once known as Black Friday will already be under way.

This year, several retailers — including Wal-Mart, the world’s largest — will open earlier than ever for Black Friday, the term used to describe the shopping holiday that has for decades helped retailers boost end-of-year profits.

“Black Friday Eve” or “Gray Thursday,” as it is now called, has been an evolving trend for several years.

And it has created a divide.

Even as some shoppers protest store openings on Thanksgiving, retailers have reported double-digit sales increases as a result of extended hours last year. And although about two dozen retail workers and their supporters have launched online petitions asking employers to save Thanksgiving, others will eagerly accept time-and-a-half holiday pay in today’s tough economy.

“Retailers are reaping their own rewards,” said Ronald Goodstein, associate professor of marketing at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “Retailers have trained shoppers to get a deal, and consumers, like lemmings, have followed suit. Now, the idea is we can get our sales started early and beat the competition. … It is all about them selling more items and making more money.”

Shoppers and retail employees who object to the Thanksgiving Day intrusion have taken to social media in protest — posting complaints on Facebook, for example, or launching petitions on social change website Change.org.

Target employee Casey St. Clair of Corona, Calif., created a petition on Change.org asking the retailer to stop the “Black Friday Creep” so she could have Thanksgiving Day to relax and visit family. St. Clair’s petition has more than 200,000 signatures, a number comparable to a similar petition last year.

Protesters have also made the same request of Best Buy, Wal-Mart and others.

Jennifer O’Donnell, 43, of Sandy Springs was happy to sign St. Clair’s petition.

“I believe in capitalism. The problem is the commercialization of certain holidays,” she said. “Holidays where we are supposed to give thanks should remain holidays.”

Sears was among the first retailers to announce an early opening this year. Its stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day compared to last year’s midnight opening.

“The reason behind it largely came from our own “Shop your Way” members and other customers,” said Brian Hanover, spokesman for Sears Holdings Inc. “This is something that a certain segment of the Sears customer base really wants — to be in our stores early.”

Sears will stagger the big deals known as doorbusters with one round at 8 p.m. and another at 4 a.m. They will also allow reward program members to shop the same deals five days early. “You want to talk about early shopping, that is as early as it can get,” Hanover says.

Wal-Mart will also open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, two hours earlier than last year.

“Last year our busiest time was 10 p.m.,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Veronica Marshall. “What (customers) shared was that they would rather stay up late than get up early.”

Wal-Mart is also offering deals at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and they are guaranteeing certain doorbusters for anyone in line between 10 and 11 p.m.

Among the other retailers opening early is Kmart — from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Toys R Us will open an hour earlier this year at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while department stores including Macy’s and Kohl’s will open at midnight Friday.

This week, Target announced it would open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving with deals including high-definition television sets, cameras and e-Readers.

O’Donnell, a costume designer for film and television, said that in the last couple of years, if she just has to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, she shops online or with small businesses. While she hopes retailers will heed the concerns of consumers opposed to Thanksgiving store openings, she is doubtful they will reverse corporate decisions.

Marshall, Wal-Mart’s spokeswoman, confirms O’Donnell’s doubts. “I think overall (those critics are) still a small number compared to the 140 million customers that come to our store each week,” Marshall said. “I don’t think the conversations taking place right now online will have any impact on the business.”

Nor will they have an impact on the 28.7 million people who did their Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day last year, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

So while shoppers must choose to miss out on deals or dinner and store employees miss out on dinner or dollars, retailers it would seem, will always get the prize.

“They aren’t going to lose any business by opening early,” Goodstein said. “If anything, they are gaining.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Authorities arrested a 16-year-old on Monday morning after authorities said he shot a 15-year-old girl at a Texas high school, according to the Ellis County Sheriff's Office. >> Read more trending news
  • More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon opened its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in Seattle Monday. The store on the bottom floor of Amazon’s headquarters billed itself as grocery shopping for the future. It has no registers and no cashiers. >> Read more trending news  Shoppers have to download the Amazon Go app to scan to get in the door. Once they are inside, the store tracks what they buy through cameras and shelf sensors. Anything a shopper takes off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything put back is taken out of the cart. Once shopping in finished, you just walk out the door. You will get a receipt in your app about five minutes later. The system works by combining computer vision and machine-learning algorithms and sensors. The Associated Press reported there are people there making food, stocking shelves and helping customers. The store offers ready-to-eat breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, as well as some grocery staples like bread, milk, cheese and chocolates. It'll also have Amazon Meal Kits. KIRO spoke to some of the shoppers who were among the first to experience the store and they seemed to like what they saw.“It will make it a lot quicker. The biggest reason you don’t want to go to the store is waiting in line so it’s pretty great,' Betty Paschke, who lives in Seattle, said. Tech expert Todd Bishop with Geekwire said the success of the store is yet to be seen and depends on how much the public is willing to let the business track their spending and accounts virtually. “It basically treats people walking around a physical space exactly like people are tracked online currently,” Bishop saud. Amazon Go had been open only to Amazon employees since December 2016 to test out the technology. Acording to Amazon, there are no plans to open up more stores like the Seattle location.
  • Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games -- one a comeback, the other a blowout -- gave us the lineup for the Super Bowl that will pit the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles. Quarterback Tom Brady, with 12 stitches in his hand, led the Patriots in a 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars to put them in the Super Bowl for a record 10th time. >>Read more trending news Philadelphia didn’t need a comeback, the Eagles dominated the Minnesota Vikings after the Vikings' touchdown on the opening drive, winning the NFC championship 38-7. Super Bowl LII (52), with all its pageantry, commercials and parties, is set for Feb. 4 Here’s how to watch Super Bowl LII:When: Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018Who: The New England Patriots vs. the Philadelphia EaglesWhere: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MinnesotaNational anthem: Pink will sing the national anthemHalftime entertainment: Justin Timberlake will headline the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime ShowWhat time: 6:30 p.m. ET What channel: NBC will broadcast the game Odds: The Patriots are favored by five points, according to OddsShark.
  • After a 20-year-old Jacksonville man was fatally shot over the weekend, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is releasing new details about what led up to his death. Deputies have already arrested Dalton Faulkner, 23, and Sarah Itani, 17, for the murder of Kahlil Cooke, 20, but a new arrest report obtained by WOKV shows several other people were also involved.  In that arrest report, investigators say 5 people--including Faulkner, Itani, and the victim, Cooke--were involved in setting up what was supposed to be a drug deal over SnapChat with two men in an undeveloped area of Hickory Forrest Road.  However, deputies say Faulkner admitted the true intention of the meeting was to steal a pound of marijuana from the two men, but things didn't go as planned.  Instead, the report states that Cooke and another man, who has not yet been identified by deputies, began beating the two men with a pair of brass knuckles.  One of the men was able to break away and grab a rifle. He then proceeded to shot several rounds at Cooke and the other man-- fatally hitting Cooke.  Faulkner is currently charged with non-premeditated murder, robbery with a weapon, and tampering with evidence. Meanwhile, Itari is charged with non-premeditated murder and robbery.  At this time, the two men lured to that location have not been identified. Neither have the other two people in the original group.
  • Five workers were missing Monday after a natural gas well exploded and caught fire in Oklahoma, sending out a smoke plume that could be seen for miles. >> Read more trending news Pittsburg County emergency managers and the county sheriff confirmed around 9 a.m. local time that an explosion and fire took place at a well in Quinton. Air Care McAlester officials confirmed that at least one person was injured in the fire. The person, whose condition was not immediately known, was taken by helicopter to a Tulsa hospital. Officials said 17 other employees were able to safely leave the area. The well is a natural gas and oil well.  Emergency officials said Monday they were letting the fire burn itself out and were fighting any flames that went beyond a perimeter they established.  Officials said the public was safe from contaminates and that there was no need for evacuations.  The well is owned by oil drilling company Patterson-UTI Energy Inc., employees confirmed. In a statement, company officials said they were unaware of what caused the fire. “We have received reports that some of our employees and others are unaccounted for at this time,” the statement said. “Our top priority is the safety of our employees and any others who may be affected. We've activated our emergency response systems and are fully cooperating with first responders and authorities on the scene. We will provide more details as they are known.” FOX23 storm chasers in the area spotted the smoke plume from the fire miles away. Workers on the rig were evacuated and sent to the Quinton Community Center for a head count.  Grief counselors and religious leaders were offering support to families and workers on Monday. The American Red Cross was also working to help first responders as they worked to contain the fire. Fire crews were also searching woods for anyone that may have run from the scene.

The Latest News Videos