By opening its doors on Thanksgiving, Walmart is simply responding to consumer demand

walmartWalmart has announced once again that they will be open on Thanksgiving Day. Most of their employees will work at least a few hours, taking them away from their families and friends on a day typically off-limits when it comes to retail. And people are blaming Walmart, when in fact, the blame falls on us.

Why is Walmart choosing, along with quite a few other stores, to be open on Thanksgiving? Isn’t Black Friday enough? Not for American consumers. Christmas is around the corner, the holiday all about loving your fellow men and women, peace on Earth…oh no, I’m sorry, Christmas is all about stuff.

Love your wife? Buy her diamonds from Kay or Tiffany’s or Harry Winston. Love your husband? Buy him a Mercedes (choose his naughty or nice color) or a $2,000 barbecue grill or a watch from Neiman Marcus. Love your kids? Well, holy shit, buy them everything. Our son has a friend trying to convince him to get an Xbox for Christmas (he already has a PS3). My response was “Is he going to buy that for you?” because we’re certainly not.

Don’t blame Walmart, Macy’s and all the rest for this incredibly selfish and horrible idea. We’re the ones demanding more stuff to put under the Yuletide tree. We’re the consumers who have begun camping out at Best Buy in order to grab that giant-screen television or newest cell phone. It’s us and our insatiable need for more things.

Christmas to me is not about things, it’s about scents and sights and joy and light. Cinnamon sticks boiling in water on the stove, vanilla infused sugar sprinkled on just out of the oven cookies, pine-scented candles burning brightly on the coffee table. Our tree bedecked with ornaments I inherited from my mother, twinkling lights draped over the deck railing and everywhere, music. Elvis Presley’s Christmas album, The Nutcracker, Glenn Miller and Pandora Radio set to 1940’s Christmas tunes. Oh and food. Cookies, bars, Jackie’s Toffee Crack, my husband’s Bon Appetit Whiskey Balls made with Jim Beam and ginger snaps, my infamous Candy Cane Cookies and the most wonderful dinner on Christmas Eve.

Yes, we have presents under the tree. I happen to know my husband bought me White Fire by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child because I interviewed them and I love Agent Pendergast. Our son is getting I don’t know yet, but it certainly will not require me to camp out at Best Buy or Macy’s or spend Thanksgiving Day in a mall. As for my husband, he’s a pain to shop for because every year, he says “I don’t want anything,” which I take as a personal challenge. He needs a new casual coat. See? Done.

One of the most interesting complaints I’ve heard about working on Thanksgiving has been directed towards Disney. Oh no. As a former cast member, you know what you’re getting into when you work in a Disney park. You are told upfront you will be required to work holidays. I worked Christmas one year and it was a blast. The guests were in great moods, we were in great moods, the decorations were gorgeous and it was fun. My husband, son and I spent Thanksgiving in Walt Disney World a few years ago and had a really great time. Disney should never get lumped into the same category as retailers choosing to open on Thanksgiving Day for the first time.

There are quite a few retailers who are saying “NO” to being open on Thanksgiving, and good for them. Profits over people is never a good way to go, so kudos to these companies. But let me ask you, gentle reader, a question. Do you shop on Black Friday? Do you get up at 3 AM to be the first in line at Walmart or Toys R Us or Radio Shack? Does that extra day sound pretty good to you because you need more stuff for Christmas, since Christmas isn’t really about love and joy and peace, it’s about MORE STUFF?

If you answered yes, then don’t blame Walmart, Best Buy or Macy’s. Go look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re doing this. Do your kids really need more video games? Another cell phone? Do you need more debt? Of course not, but for some bizarre reason, Christmas is one of the times when love=money. I don’t understand that, nor do I subscribe to that belief.

If you do, then don’t blame retailers for being open on Thanksgiving. They’re only doing what you asked them to do.



  1. Was this written by walmart’s PR dept? Or just a corporate schill? There wasn’t enough time between Black Friday, the weekend, and cyber Monday to offer up minute quantities of loss leader products to drag consumers into the stores, they have to infringe on family time on Thanksgiving?

    • I’m sorry, did you not see the photos and videos of CONSUMERS rushing the doors on Thursday of retailers who chose to open? Did you miss the hoards of people who left their homes to shop on Thanksgiving? Again, if retailers did not think they’d make buckets of money by doing this, they wouldn’t be open on Thanksgiving. So while it’s smarmy as hell to be open on Thanksgiving, people spent a ton of money yesterday. A ton.

  2. Unfortunately, retailers are notorious for making the general public THINK they will get a fantastic deal if they camp out hours before the store opens. I blame BOTH these uninformed people and the corporation culture that has “conditioned” the flocks to respond the way they do. If WalMart had any corporate ETHICS, they would not be opening their doors no matter what the materialistic public wanted. WalMart should not be considered blame-free. And, the answer your question: I would NEVER be out shopping on ANY holiday if not for any other reason than I value my life and my time.

    • Exactly! I’m tired of retailer greed being blamed on “responding to consumer demand”. They *create* consumer demand and then claim they are responding to it.

      This isn’t about consumer demand. It’s about retailer greed and seeing us as dollar signs.

  3. And…from the POV of those of us who work at those retailers, without a choice as to whether or not we can have our Thanksgiving ON Thanksgiving Day, please, please, please listen to Miss Erin. There is plenty of time to buy the stuff you think you want. Plus, everything is bargain priced for the entire week BEFORE and the entire week AFTER Thanksgiving! You’re not saving anything more if you shop at 2 am on Friday morning, unless it’s for the loss-leaders – which are all cheap crap, made in China, any way. OCCUPY THANKSGIVING! Give us a break, already.

    • Stop letting Wal*Mart off the hook. People have survived for generations with stores closed on Thanksgiving. This isn’t about meeting consumer demand. It’s about Wal*Mart putting profits before people – as usual.

      • Okay, but I think we can all agree that business models include profits. So if a retailer doesn’t make money on Thanksgiving, they wouldn’t stay open. And if you’ll note, I give props to the retailers who chose not to be open today. However, simply blaming the stores for being open is disingenuous. They’re open because they’re going to make money.

        What I have noticed is no one has said that people in the hospitality industry should have today off. Hotels, restaurants, theme parks are all open. Heck, Thanksgiving is one of Disney’s busiest days. I personally know 2 families spending today at Walt Disney World. I worked at WDW, and I worked holidays. I used to be a concierge and I worked holidays.

        So what’s the difference? That’s a serious question-I’ve never understood why people get so angry about stores being open but never raise an eyebrow about folks in the service industry.

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