The last several years I wrote posts about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but with retail stores now officially opening this year right after Thanksgiving dinner I say enough is enough. I’m all for working hard. In fact, some say I may have a slight workaholic problem with my personal computer acting as an adopted child in my family. However, Thanksgiving is truly one of those traditions that I think was meant to be spent with you and your family watching football games, carving up turkey, and sparking up a great evening fire. Although not much could seem worse than being relegated to the fold out card table, what IS even worse is that many stores like Target and Wal-Mart opened their doors yesterday evening before the clock struck midnight.
I worked for a Fortune 500 corporation for more than 16 years. It took me a while during my career to understand this concept, but corporations by nature have an insatiable appetite for earnings. They are the cookie monsters that keep eating chocolate chip cookies without getting full. They don’t want one slice of the pie. Instead, they will take any action necessary to get the whole pie. If this means trampling over Aunt Edna and Uncle Eddy to get to that last slice of pie, than that is just the way it is. Even if you hit your goal of 30% sales growth this year, they will set your goals for 40% sales growth the next year. There is no heart and there is no soul in corporations today. Just a little team of financial people along with the CEO doing everything in their powers to meet the numbers for Wall Street analysts quarterly review so the company stock will get a bump in price.
The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend an average of $749.51 each on gifts, greetings cards, and overall décor on a Festivus that is for the rest of us. I wonder with many retail stores competing for a potentially tight wallet share this holiday season, did these five or six large department stores think they could get a jump on capturing that $750 by stealing away the evening of one of our great holiday traditions in Thanksgiving? Did they think Wall Street analysts would be impressed with their aggressive management style to bring in the profits during the holiday season? Were these extra four or five hours the ones that would create more ‘real’ shareholder value?
I don’t like this new tradition of black Thursday at all as Thanksgiving has always been a great holiday to sit back, relax, and find the things we are really thankful for in our lives. However, since the stores have decided to open up on Thursday evening I think I’ll start a new tradition. I’m beginning my evening at 8 a.m. in the fold out chair aisle and getting the comfiest chair possible. Then, I’ll move over to the side table aisle and grab a nice end table where I can put my stuff. After that, it’s over to the food area to get a bag of chips, some dip, and a bottle of soda. If I can collect all of that in my cart within 20 minutes, I’ll plant myself in front of the biggest flat screen TV possible to watch the Jets play the Patriots since after all I’ve got all night and into the wee hours of the morning to finish my shopping list. Of course Target or Wal Mart security might try to ask me to move. I challenge you Paul Blart Mall Cop, try it! Just try it!
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc – The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice and Services
Ted Jenkin is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.
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