The evolution of retail
Nov 23, 2012 | 571 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Still in the middle of our season of Thanksgiving — it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, stop with one meal on Thursday — it is well understood that most eyes are now focused on the fast-approaching Christmas season.

Black Friday assures us of that.

Love it or hate it, the 2012 version of today’s annual shopping bonanza actually brought shades of grey on Thursday as several retailers moved up their Black Friday launch to Thanksgiving morning or Thanksgiving afternoon, and a few opened the floodgates at 8 o’clock Thanksgiving night.

Some stuck with evolutionary tradition and opened in this morning’s pre-wee hours.

These changes in marketing promotions should come as a surprise to no one. They have been predicted over the past few years as the unlocking of retail doors has come progressively earlier with each successive year. Remember when stores shocked the consumer world by opening at 6 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving? And then 5 a.m.? And then 4 a.m. and 3 a.m.?

In the newspaper world, these pre-dawn predators of discount were always good stories. Their reasons for rising so early for a good bargain were as diverse as the red lines in their weary, bloodshot eyes.

Some wanted the money savings.

Some wanted the product selection.

Some wanted to get the bulk of their Christmas shopping finished quickly and early.

Some wanted to feel the adrenaline rush of being the first in line, the first in the stores and the first to grab the buy of their dreams.

Some wanted to enjoy the company of good friends and bouncing loved ones, all of whom shared a common cause and a mutual passion for the hunt.

Some wanted to flee the caloric temptations of leftover pumpkin, sweet potato or pecan pie from the afternoon before.

Some wanted to get away from a house full of visiting relatives.

Some wanted to hop from store to store in full sprint in order to work up the appetite for a satisfying Black Friday breakfast, followed by more hopping, albeit a little more subdued because the most important items on the shopping list had already been secured.

Some wanted to get away from the TV, from all talk of football and from a flurry of misguided prognostications of who is bowl-bound, who is bowl-less and whose gridiron fortunes are no longer a bowl of cherries.

Some wanted to spend Black Friday morning in the stores to save time for Black Friday afternoon in the yard amid scores of colorful piles of autumn leaves.

Some wanted to experience the “feel” of their first Black Friday excursion; others wanted to savor the continuation of this longstanding, seasonal tradition.

Some wanted to shop for others, on behalf of others, with others or in spite of others.

Some wanted to watch all the people and their retail antics; it was some good entertainment well worth the price of admission.

Some wanted to greet another Christmas season in a way that embraced Thanksgiving for one day, and the Yuletide for the next 34.

Sad we are that another Thanksgiving has succumbed — even earlier — to the unrelenting approach of this shopper’s paradise.

But let us be fair.

Black Friday is not an evil-doing monster lurking in the shadows of some distant corner. It serves a purpose and it meets a need.

Yet, is it so callous to ask that Black Friday remain on ... Black Friday?

Do we expect too much?

Are we wrong in clinging to the belief that Thanksgiving is our season of the family, one still intended for giving thanks and not credit cards?

We think not.