EAST LANSING, MICH. – Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is always the day after Thanksgiving. However, in most recent years, stores across the country have been opening their doors on the evening of Thanksgiving.
Multiple stores inside Meridian Mall in Okemos opened doors at 6 p.m., and Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing, Mich. had shoppers lined outside starting before 6 p.m. Thursday.
Carly Gawronski, a senior advertising student at Michigan State, explains why she still enjoys Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving day. Gawronski has also worked at the Athleta store on Black Friday. As a retail employee, Gawronski has experienced the Black Friday rush first-hand.
“The incentive to work on Black Friday is overtime pay, how busy the mall is so work goes by fast, and the need for coverage at my work,” she explained. “It is definitely not as much fun as a worker, though.”
As an employee she also has not noticed a large drop in Black Friday participants since the change in start time for the sales.
“It seems that people don’t care about the new start time since lines outside of stores is common,” she said. “I can see why people think that maybe shopping on Thanksgiving day is shallow, but as a worker at a retail store I can also understand the need to begin earlier.”
The argument against the earlier start time made by Black Friday opposers is concerns that employees won’t get enough time to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Another concern is that the idea of starting the sales early takes away from the gratefulness that is promoted on Thanksgiving.
A former Black Friday shopper and advertising student at MSU, Hunter Callender says she stopped participating on Black Friday when the doors opened on Thanksgiving Day.
“I always liked the tradition of getting up early with my mom and aunts the morning after Thanksgiving,” Callender explains. “I don’t like the idea of rushing through the Holiday to go shop, especially because I don’t get to see my extended family often.”
As an alternative to the recent years’ Black Friday trend, Callender and other opposers have turned to shopping online to get their steals.
Cyber Monday allows for people to find sales online, and therefore do not necessarily need to shop in-stores on Thanksgiving. However Cyber ‘Monday’ is now extended to begin on Thanksgiving as well, running all weekend.
Stores that sell products strictly online, like Amazon and Blue Apron, rely on their website sales on Cyber Monday since there is not an option for in-store purchasing.
According to a CNN.com Money Report, this fall Amazon broke their top sales record with the success of their Cyber Monday promotions.
“Buying online can be risky, especially if a lot of people want the item too, the store can run-out or put your order on back-order,” said Gawronski. “Overall, it seems like people are way more comfortable with getting the best deal if they are actually buying them in-store.”