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I'm Just Sayin': Don't like turkey day creep? Don't participate

If you're a regular reader of this column you know that one of my pet peeves is "holiday creep," or the fact that there is no longer much of a holiday buffer between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Fake Christmas trees started going up in Rochester area stores around the third week in October, and TV commercials with Santas and elves in them have been multiplying like bacteria since Halloween.

Now there are complaints about not only Christmas season creep, but "Black Friday creep." A petition being circulated by an employee of a big box retail store urging his bosses to reverse their decision to open at midnight after Thanksgiving has been getting a lot of press. At last check, he'd gotten more than 200,000 people to sign it online. Similar petitions aimed at other national retailers have cropped up all over the country.

Thanksgiving is the one non-commercial holiday of the year, these black Friday creep opponents contend. Please don't desecrate it by making us work that day, and please don't separate us from our families by forcing some of us to SHOP! Because God knows we don't want to, but we have a sickness that forces us to wait in lines in the cold and dark for the stores to open on the day after Thanksgiving.

Some of you might recall that last year — for the purpose of this column — I hit the stores before dawn on Black Friday morning. I will never do it again. I'm not big on shopping, I don't like large crowds, and I don't at all enjoy getting up at 4 in the morning.


However, I have no problem with stores opening at midnight after Thanksgiving. Retailers shouldn't have to apologize to anyone for trying to fill a customer want.

This is the time of year when many retailers make it or break it. That's why it's called "Black Friday." It's when many business go from being in the red to being in the black when it comes to revenue. And it's in everyone's interest for the retailers among us to have a good year, as our economy continues through its tepid recovery. So, if people have money to shop, and they want to do it at midnight after Thanksgiving, why not accommodate them?

I know what some of you are thinking. What about those poor folks who have to work the counters and aisles so soon after their Thanksgiving meals? They should be spending quality time with their families. Where's your compassion, Sellnow?

Yes, I do have empathy for people who have to work on holidays. For decades I worked at least every other major holiday. One year, when I was home from college for Christmas, my Dad who was the editor of my hometown paper, and I put out the entire news content of the paper on Christmas Day so he could give the rest of the staff the day off.

It would be nice if all businesses could give all of their employees all holidays off. And I know some people would like to go back to the old blue law days when it wasn't legal for most businesses to open on Sunday.  But that's not the world we live in anymore. A lot of people work nights. A lot of people work holidays. And when they're not working, some of them like to shop.

Personally, I have more of a problem with businesses that WON'T open when it's most convenient for me to use their services — such as Saturday afternoons.

I think the petitioners are targeting the wrong people. CEOs of the big box retailers that are opening at midnight on Black Friday say they're doing it because their customers have told them that's what they want.

Believe me, if no one is there waiting in line at midnight after Thanksgiving these businesses won't do this again next year. So, if you really want to persuade them not to open early,  try getting consumers to sign a pledge that they won't shop at midnight. "Just Say No to Black Friday Creep" could be the slogan.


But I have a sneaking suspicion the stores that open at midnight will do some pretty good business that night, or morning, or whatever it is. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.


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