Has the war on Thanksgiving begun?

Some retailers and consumers are balking at the ever-earlier shopping hours that now threaten to intrude on turkey time.

By Bruce Kennedy Nov 21, 2012 3:25PM

Image: Woman with shopping bags (Tanya Constantine/Getty Images)Retailers are boldly moving Black Friday up a few hours into Thanksgiving, in some cases opening their doors to a shopping frenzy before the last bite of pumpkin pie is enjoyed.


What happened to spending a day with the family? Is nothing sacred anymore?


Now, we're seeing the inevitable backlash against this rampant consumerism -- or at least a smart grab for headlines. J.C. Penney (JCP) is leading the charge against the new eat-then-shop turkey day, saying it's going to "honor" tradition by closing stores on Thanksgiving and opening for Black Friday.


The company is even opening its stores two hours later this year, at 6 a.m. from the 4 a.m. last year. And so the Black Friday pushback begins in earnest -- and retailers need to pick sides.


Are we seeing a war on Thanksgiving emerge here?


Sears (SHLD) and Wal-Mart (WMT) have moved shopping hours into Thanksgiving Day itself, turning the day into what some are calling "Gray Thursday." Other stores, such as Macy's (M) and Target (TGT), are opening some of their stores at midnight, right after Thanksgiving.


But some consumers and employees are balking. Some Wal-Mart employees are so outraged that they are threatening to strike. And at least 300,000 people have signed a petition on the Change.org site calling on Target to "give Thanksgiving back to families" by not opening until Friday.


And a statement by one Wal-Mart employee in Wisconsin, Mary Pat Tifft -- a founding member of the labor right group OurWalmart -- has been getting a lot of notice on the internet.


"My son is coming home from Afghanistan for the holiday," she writes, "and I would be devastated if I had been scheduled to work. I see the disappointment in the eyes of my co-workers, especially those with young kids, that aren’t going to be able to share the holiday with their families."


Iowa-based retailer Von Maur is staying closed on Thanksgiving. "We don't participate in any of the midnight sales and extreme hours," Amy Davis, the company's advertising manager, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "It comes back to a company mindset of being mindful not just of what our customers want, but really taking into consideration our employees."


While 147 million consumers are expected to take part in Black Friday sales, some are wondering if Gray Thursday is necessary. Texas resident Janet David took advantage of the midnight openings last Thanksgiving, but told her local TV news outlet she has mixed feelings about it this year, "because I think you ought to be able to enjoy your holiday and not worry about shopping."


While Penney could certainly use the extra sales time on Thursday -- its sales and profits have been hit hard this year as management overhauls operations -- the company may see more benefit from the goodwill created by its stance against Gray Thursday.

 

"I know that some retailers are opening on Thanksgiving this year," CEO Ron Johnson said in an email to customers this week, according to The Dallas Morning News. "But spending Thanksgiving with family is one of America's greatest traditions. Since JCP was founded on the Golden Rule, I'm proud to honor this tradition by keeping our stores closed on this special day."


Of course, Johnson added, "we'll be honoring another great American tradition -- Black Friday -- with our one big sale of the year."


More from Top Stocks

103Comments
Nov 21, 2012 7:50PM
avatar
If these stupid stores have to work Thanksgiving to make it, I hope they all fail next year. It's only 1 day to close and its a holiday, gimme a break, stay home and relax.
Nov 21, 2012 7:21PM
avatar
I'll be shopping at JCP on Friday.  No pre-black friday deals for me.
Nov 21, 2012 7:20PM
avatar

Kudis to those stores showing consideration to the tradition and family times by not intruding on the Thanksgiving holiday,  As a retail store owner I realize the importance of holiday sales but greed has it limits.  It;s bad enoi\ugh to see the Christmas ads beginning BEFORE Hallowe'em this year.  We as consumers and retailers need a kick start into common sense,

Nov 21, 2012 7:16PM
avatar
GREAT STANCE JCP.  I WILL BE DOING A LOT MORE SHOPPING THERE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.  IF PEOPLE WOULD STAY AWAY FROM THE OTHER STORES ON THANKSGIVING IT WOULD SEND A MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR.  IS SAVING A FEW DOLLARS REALLY WORTH THE LOST TIME WITH FAMILY.
Nov 21, 2012 6:58PM
avatar
just take back junk or items for garage sales
Nov 21, 2012 6:38PM
avatar

Looks more like a last-ditch move on JCP's part to save themselves some real embarrassment on Black Friday.  Saw their Black Friday ad and came to the conclusion that they managed to come up with something more convoluted than their pricing scheme.  No more Mickey Mouse snowglobes with the coupon at the entrances.  Instead, they're doing the button-of-the-day every day until Christmas.  You need to go online and punch in the code number on the back of the button to see what your prize is.  This is a company in desperate need of a bang-up holiday season, and this is all they can come up with.

 

In the immortal words of Joe Rogan:  "It'a all over!!!"

Nov 21, 2012 6:30PM
avatar
JCP will be lucky if there's 5 people waiting in line to enter! Used to shop there regularly until they changed their stores and marketing. Sucks today!!!
Nov 21, 2012 6:29PM
avatar
in a couple of years thanksgiving will just be another shopping day,
Nov 21, 2012 6:21PM
avatar
Hobby Lobby is one of the few retailers that really doesn't do much for Black Friday.  The stores are closed Thanksgiving and only open an hour earlier and close one hour later on Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving.  The store is always closed on Sunday and only has the two days of extended hours.
Nov 21, 2012 6:07PM
avatar

Kudos to JCP - it's the one correct decision they've made all year....now get rid of the July 4th Gay dads....this is hurting your reputation - way more than you think. Remember JCP is solid core American values. The vast majority of your shoppers are not Gay and do not support the Gay lifestyle. I've heard more complaints about this than the no coupon policy.

 

Johnson seriously misread the traditional JCP shopper...this Thanksgiving gesture may be his admission that tradition trumps his personal opinion.

 

Johnson - good decision here!

Nov 21, 2012 5:50PM
avatar
Brilliant!!  Has nothing to do with core beliefs or "honoring" tradition albeit twisted as such.  JCP is in a tough spot and they KNOW they cannot win against the Kohl's, Best Buy's, Target's and Macy's if they open at the same time.  By twisting this into a "family purpose" they will have their stores full at 6AM after everyone is finished with the other stores.  In the end, they sell more than they would have, look like saints to some, AND save on payroll by being open a shorter timespan for the day.  Well done JCP stay creative and you will come thru fine.
Nov 21, 2012 5:49PM
avatar
Blame the shoppers. The stores would not open if no shoppers showed up. They will be lined up on the sidewalks eating doughnuts and drinking red bull. Lots of pride & ambition there. Real winners.
Nov 21, 2012 5:48PM
avatar
Black Friday?? Here's what it is--a Friday that  idiots camp out for for days in advance for to wait for the "sales"  to start; then they find out there's only enough stock to cover 15-20% of the demand. Then they go home and buy the product off of Ebay or the like for 10X the amount since their little spolied brat children just have to have the latest and greatest immediately. The retailers have destroyed Christmas and are trying to destroy Christianity itself, now they're after Thanksgiving, the only real true family holiday left. We need to get back to family values. Anybody remember when ALL stores were closed on the Holidays, Sundays, etc.? You couldn't even buy a pack of gum on Christmas, New Years, whatever. Now, no-one cares and the almighty buck rules the roost. WHAT ASHAME!!! RIP USA--I'm sorry to say you'll never recover from the onslaught of Liberalism.
Nov 21, 2012 5:47PM
avatar
yet to see a job application for a retail dept. store that doesn't ask "Are you willing to work nights, weekends, and holidays?". Nature of the Beast so to speak. 
Nov 21, 2012 5:43PM
avatar
it"s JCPenny- does it really matter when they open? No one will be there at 6 either!
Nov 21, 2012 5:40PM
avatar
What do you know - an article on-line that tells the truth about retailing practices across the board instead of just bashing WalMart.  And people, the ultimate power of whether stores are open at any point on Thanksgiving Day (or at midnight to get a jump on Black Friday) rests with you.  If people don't shop during these extra hours, believe me, the stores will notice.  They're paying for staff and utilities when they're open, and if no one shows up to shop, those wages and utility bills are pure losses.  You can bet if that happens, next year the hours will be cut back.
Nov 21, 2012 5:36PM
avatar
You can not compare people working in retail to police or firemen. The stores like Walmart and Target should be boycoted on Thanksgiving day if they open. Can you spell GREED?????
avatar
Yay!!! JCP I hope other department stores follow in your quest to keep the holiday traditions and family at the top of your priorities...I would definitely shop at the department stores that have this same philosophy :)))
Nov 21, 2012 5:18PM
avatar

Agreed. Well done JCP.  I saw your flyer and liked a few of the items.  I will definitely drop by your store if only to support a company that does right for their employees & their customers.

Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

116
116 rated 1
265
265 rated 2
429
429 rated 3
612
612 rated 4
499
499 rated 5
525
525 rated 6
701
701 rated 7
533
533 rated 8
337
337 rated 9
131
131 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
UPLULTRA PETROLEUM Corp10
COPCONOCOPHILLIPS9
TAT&T Inc9
DVNDEVON ENERGY CORPORATION9
EOGEOG RESOURCES Inc9
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.