The ROI of Black Friday Creep

Posted 22 November 2012 by
My 2 cents worth

My 2 cents worth

I had a grandmother that worked in the Housewares department at the Famous Barr depatment store in the Northland Shopping Center, Jennings, Missouri, for many years. As a result, I know what the day after Thanksgiving means to the retail industry.

President Franklin Roosevelt knew, also. In 1940 and 1941, he proclaimed Thanksgiving Day to be the third Thursday in November instead of the then-traditional last Thursday in November (which could be a fifth Thursday), just to give retailers an extra week of Christmas shopping. Later, Congress set the date of the holiday to be the fourth Thursday (not the last Thursday).

So, the race is on to try to get each of us to spend a buck with one retailer before we spend it with another retailer. The retailers know we only have so much money to spend.

I am not against retailers making money. In fact, I want them to maximize their return on their investments. Honestly and morally, but maximize them. That is why I do not understand Black Friday Creep.

In an attempt to get my limited cash, how much are retailers willing to spend?

Opening a store costs money. Opening that store on Thursday evening and running all night costs more than opening at the regular time on Friday.

Paying holiday bonuses with time-and-half rates increases labor costs.

I am not going to spend any more money, and neither is anyone else, over the total holiday season. That makes the ROI of Gray Thursday very dubious.

There are ways to move to the head of the line to get my cash, though.

Start the sales on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, or on Veterans Day.

Pre-sell items on the Internet to be picked up at a reasonable time on Friday through Sunday.

Start longer store hours before Thanksgiving.

The ROI on each of those would be better than they are doing now.

In addition, I might buy something. There is no way I go near a big box store or shopping center this weekend if can avoid it. The crowds and hassle keep me away. However, I might venture near a store late Saturday or Sunday to pick up something I bought Thursday over the Web.

And retail workers would get their holiday.

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