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Does Black Friday Need to be Redesigned?

Retargeted ads for frozen turkeys, mailers advertising the “biggest deals of the year can be YOURS at 6:00 PM on Thursday!” and the impending knowledge that your pants are going to fit a *liiiitle* tighter than you remember. Yes, thanksgiving is here!

For many of us, Thanksgiving gives a reason to pause and consider things to be thankful for. And then, after all that thankfulness is done, go out and spend gobs of money and time surrounded by strangers and competitors alike while shopping for things we don’t need. Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Alibaba’s Singles’ Day, retailers racked in more than $20 billion in revenue in 2016.

This money is usually spent on gifts for friends, family, distant relatives, and the obligatory work white elephant exchange - which can contribute positively to relationships. After all, who doesn’t love a peach candle?

But the buzz around Black Friday takes the focus off of spending time with our loved ones and places it back on where our attention is 365 days a year: stuff. Yes, the deals are great. But is it worth it?

During one of our meetings this morning, Kitty Hart (our Director of Client Experience and resident shopping lover) paused in the middle of a sentence and exclaimed, “YOU GUYS. Younkers is opening at 11 AM THURSDAY MORNING. Isn’t that shocking?!”

And the sad part, is that it wasn’t. Neither me or my 2 other colleagues batted an eye. In an age where brands have demonstrated a lack of care for their employees or their customers in the pursuit of money, nothing, not even Thanksgiving, is off limits. Sorry if Grandma will be in town, Younker’s employee, you need to work for 10 hours and be yelled at. Without pie!

Even if Thanksgiving was still kept sacred, the question would still remain. Is sacrificing time and energy worth it?

With the declining sales and decreasing foot traffic, it seems like a lot of the reason retailers still participate is because, well, everyone else is. But there has to be a different way for retailers to capitalize on the holiday season while also allowing their employees to spend holidays with their families. After all, REI’s closed doors on Black Friday didn’t hinder their $2.56 billion in revenue. Yes the decision to close their doors makes sense given their audience, who naturally would rather be enjoying the outdoors than fighting elbow-deep in marked down merchandise, but the point remains.

Since most stores participate in sales that begin before Thanksgiving and last until Christmas, it begs the question: why, Younker’s, are you open? Shopping can be done online, after the turkey is long finished and Aunt Ruth has made the trip back home.

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Categories Business & Marketing

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