Thanksgiving sales draw shoppers, boycotts

While the usual throngs waited for several Treasure Valley stores to open, there were people who stayed away, choosing a holiday over a crazy day

adutton@idahostatesman.comNovember 29, 2013 

Some families spurned the Black Friday creep and vowed to shop at stores that chose not to open Thursday for the holiday shopping season.

Increasingly, retail chains and department stores offer sales on Thanksgiving, and many people make it a tradition to spend part of the day in line at a store.

But the holiday shopping creep rubs some consumers the wrong way. A Facebook campaign created by two Idahoans, for instance, invited people to boycott sales on Thanksgiving. It attracted more than 300 people in two weeks.

About 28 percent of all Thanksgiving weekend shoppers hit the stores by midnight Thursday last year instead of waking early for the Black Friday hustle, according to the National Retail Federation. That was up from 10 percent in 2010.

A survey by the federation this year said 23.5 percent of the people surveyed planned to shop on Thanksgiving.

The trend seems to be especially strong for young adults. About 36 percent of so-called millennials — people in their 20s and early 30s — shopped on Thanksgiving last year, the retail trade group said.

Ariel Weaver, of Nampa, is a co-creator of the Facebook campaign not to shop. Weaver worked for Macy’s when its Thanksgiving weekend sales started at 5 a.m. on Black Friday. It bothered her to see opening times move to the holiday, she said.

“I have a feeling it’s going to turn into not Thanksgiving, but a shopping day,” she said in an interview.

Weaver said she received some “negative feedback” about the Facebook campaign, such as comments from retail workers who say they need the extra income from holiday hours.

Some shoppers say the decision not to patronize stores on Thanksgiving is partly motivated by a desire to stay home with their families. But they also want to make a point: They believe businesses should not ask employees to work on the holiday. They hope that by ordering items online or spending money at places that stay closed on Thanksgiving, they can send a message.

“I feel so strongly that every person deserves the opportunity to be home with their families on Thanksgiving with no pressure to work,” said Mia Crosthwaite, a mother of nine who lives in Boise. “I think it’s bad for our country. Most of the people who will be working on Thanksgiving are low-wage workers who don’t have a lot of choices.”

She acknowledged that retailers who open on Thanksgiving are doing it because it’s popular with shoppers.

“I need to be part of a business model that makes it not worth the money to be open,” she said.

Boisean Susan Dittus also is protesting. She moved to the U.S. from Northern Ireland more than 20 years ago and found Thanksgiving “an absolutely wonderful holiday (when people) stopped, paused, went home and were thankful,” she said.

Dittus is changing her shopping plans in hopes of preserving that, she said.

“It’s really made me think,” she said. “I know Home Depot isn’t opening on Thanksgiving, and I’ve actually started to buy more stuff there.”

But she makes exceptions. She won’t hold Thanksgiving hours against grocery stores, for example.

“There’s been some people saying, ‘You’re being hypocritical,’ ” she said. But last-minute food shopping has always been a Thanksgiving reality, and many grocery stores send employees home in time for turkey and the trimmings, she said.

Are you shopping in Treasure Valley stores on Black Friday? If so, tweet updates and photos to #BoiseBF.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service