Style File: Black Thursday Shopping

Old Navy's "Cheermageddon" Black Friday Advertisement

Good news for shopping enthusiasts who can’t stand their families: “Black Friday” is now an antiquated idiom with nearly a half dozen major retailers hosting their “Black Thursday” sales on Thanksgiving day.

Old Navy’s “Cheermageddon” Black Friday Advertisement

Long live the corporate retailer race to capture the ever-lucrative deal-seeker market with dueling, border-lining on the intrusive “doors-open” Black Thursday hours. Last year, Target infuriated neglected grandparents (and other Thanksgiving, “family-time” traditionalists—even it’s own shareholders) everywhere when it announced that it would launch its Black Friday Thanksgiving sale at 12am Friday morning (if you want to call it that), making them the first major corporate retailer to essentially host a Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving night. This year, Target is taking it up yet another notch by hosting its Black Friday sale on Thursday, November 22nd at 9pm. Not to be out-done, Kmart, Toys R Us, Sears, and Walmart will open even earlier at 8pm (Kmart will additionally be open from that morning from 6am-4pm and then will re-open later in the evening). So instead of family time chatter, and tryptophan-induced sedentary relaxation, Thanksgiving evening may now be spent strapping on elbow pads and gas masks in preparation for the world’s largest day of collective consumerism. So much for seconds of pumpkin pie.

Trailing the egregious leaders in crass commercialism, Old Navy announced that they will also host their Black Friday sale at 12am, Friday morning, along with Macy’s and Kohl’s. Macy’s, however, seems to embrace the more meaningful side of the holiday spirit with its new shopping incentive and Thanksgiving philanthropic initiative: Macy’s will donate $2 to Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $100,000, with any men’s or women’s fragrance purchase of $75 or more.

Don’t get us wrong; holiday sales are a crucial life-line for small to large-scale businesses everywhere, and keeps the average retailer in-the-black for the rest of the year (hence the term “Black Friday”). But with this new encroaching business strategy comes a divisive socio-economic effect. The ostracism of entry-level and minimum-wage earning retail professionals from their participation in and access to the holiday essentially makes Thanksgiving a privilege belonging solely to upper/middle-class families. Retail jobs on the sales floor used to be a promising opportunity ladder for fashion-curious, customer-minded people interested in developing their careers. Now, it only promises sacrifice and exclusion.

Currently, there are nearly 20 petitions on Change.org with over 200,000 signatures urging these corporate retailers to scale back its Black Thursday opening hours.

Here is a list of local small businesses hosting Black Friday shopping deals (whose opening hours require neither rain-proof sleeping bags nor alarm clocks):

The Finerie: $100 off a purchase of $500 or more.

Horseshoe:30- 50% off, featuring a Prairie Underground trunk show from 12 to 6pm.

Ian: 20% off all merchandise Friday through Sunday.

Karan Dannenberg Clothiers: 20-30% off select merchandise and mimosa party on both Friday and Saturday (20% off on select merchandise if you use your American Express card on Small Business Saturday).

La Ree Boutique: 20- 40% off select fall items.

Les Amis: 20% off coats all weekend, featuring Prosecco and Theo Chocolates on Friday evening.

Veridis: 20% off any single item Friday through Sunday.

Zebra Club: 50% off all merchandise from 8am- 9am and 40% off thereafter.