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Will you shop on Thanksgiving?

Posted by Joanna Weiss  November 25, 2013 06:42 AM

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And should you? The retail arms race that is Black Friday has officially extended into Turkey Day, as stores compete to capture shoppers during a shrunken holiday season. Yes, there's a backlash: complaints and petitions, often on behalf of low-wage retail workers, who have to leave their own Thanksgiving dinners to service someone else's shopping fix. But others argue that, since shopping can happen 24/7 online, it's unfair to keep brick-and-mortar stores out of the action.

How do you feel about the Black Friday creep? Do you expect stores to open even earlier next year? And if you're in Massachusetts -- where blue laws keep stores closed until midnight on Friday -- will you cross the border to New Hampshire to shop? We've compiled some opinions below. Tell us yours in the comments, or tweet us @BostonComment.

How 'Respect the Bird' was born

Doug Matthews 2.jpgThe website was born out of a blog that I wrote three years ago on And since then, if anything, the Christmas creep has gotten worse. ["Respect the Bird"] is something that the public really does believe in, to a point. But they also believe in consumerism. You hear about families just getting up from the table and leaving to go shopping. I think it's terrible -- anyone who has to work on Thanksgiving, in any profession. This is the Super Bowl of food. This is the biggest national holiday for family there is.
Doug Matthews, @RespecttheBird
Founder, "Respect the Bird" campaign on


Via Daily Kos Labor
Image: Nicholas Eckhart/Jared C. Benedict (CC)

It's fun! It's exciting!

Peter-Sachse-158x200.jpgBlack Friday is the biggest shopping event of the year and brings with it a level of fun and excitement to our customers around the nation. For Macy’s, it's important to make this day enjoyable and convenient for everyone, as our customers search for great deals on favorite wish-list items. Shopping at Macy’s on Black Friday means having the opportunity to purchase the most sought-after products at unbelievable savings.
Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief stores officer
Press release, announcing that most Macy's stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day

At least pay workers their due holiday wages

leber_rebecca.jpgWalmart calculates holiday pay differently from other retailers and manipulates staff schedules so they’re paid less on Thanksgiving than the retailer implies. Walmart pays workers their normal hourly wage, plus a holiday wage taken from the average daily pay in the two weeks leading up to the holiday. But employees told CNNMoney that Walmart hurts their overall earnings by cutting shifts in the weeks that lead up to the holiday season. Ohio state Rep. Mike Foley (D) has introduced a bill that attempts to address the problem by requiring stores that open on Thanksgiving to pay employees three times their normal wages.

Rebecca Leber, @rebleber blogger

Why protests won't matter

Thomas Kochan.jpgThere is a backlash...but as long as it is a general protest and not one that is focused on a story or a company, it won't have much effect. It has to hit organizations directly -- either keep their employees from coming to work or keep or discourage shoppers from patronizing the store....The more stores encroach on the day itself, the more they open themselves up to potential backlash. The reality, though, is that workers need jobs and that is going to make them very, very reluctant to protest as individuals, and they don't have unions available to them to protest collectively.
Thomas Kochan, @TomKochan
Professor, MIT SLoan School of Management

Fair to consumers -- and retailers

Jon Hurst.jpgFor decades across the country, grocery stores have been open on Thanksgiving -- maybe for limited hours, primarily the morning -- and no one ever said boo about that. It was responding to consumer demand.
In just the recent years, there's been that Black Friday creep, so to speak. It's for those consumers who love Black Friday and line up for hours...Consumers can shop 24/7, 365 days a year on the Internet, right there on their Smartphones. Are we stopping Massachusetts consumers from shopping on Thanksgiving, or are we just stopping them from spending their money locally?
Jon Hurst, @JonHurstRAM
President, Retailers Association of Massachusetts

41 hours at Kmart?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Are these company-wide policies?

Just don't go shopping on Thanksgiving. Just don't.

2010_01_15_Ellen_Galinsky_218.jpgWhat I want to do is encourage people to look at the bigger work-life picture. Giving up our holidays can negatively impact our well-being and our personal and family lives. Creating traditions with our children and continuing traditions with our elders can also suffer. More important, it further erodes the already faint distinction between our work and our personal lives, and it’s a trend that just may move from retail to white collar jobs. But there’s an easier way to take a stand. You don’t have to sign a petition or go out and protest in front of stores. All you have to do is do something else on Thanksgiving Day other than opening your wallet.

Ellen Galinsky, @ellengalinsky
President, Families and Work Institute,

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weiss.jpegBoston.comment is an exchange for ideas about Boston and beyond, brought to you by the Boston Globe editorial page and edited by Globe columnist Joanna Weiss. We're the sponsor of's #LabDebates and the creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure mayoral game.

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