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Holiday sales early Thanksgiving Day may become norm, expert says

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Nov 26th, 2013 @ 8:42am



SALT LAKE CITY — Over the years, retailers have slowly moved their holiday sales earlier. Many customers aren't happy about it, but could holiday sales early Thanksgiving Day become the norm?

Working on Thanksgiving at a big-box retail store can be pretty rough. Just ask Aaron. He worked with his store's security team, looking for line-jumpers.

"I had four, personally, that I radioed in," he said. "One guy [was so unruly] the Salt Lake City Police Department had to pull him out of line because he was getting very verbal."

That's not all. He said he saw shoppers who came over from other stores who looked like they had been in the ring with a young Mike Tyson after fights had broken out.

"Last year, we saw plenty of people coming over. I actually saw a lady that had a black eye, bloody nose and a bloody lip," he said.

Still, despite how frantic it might be, Aaron gets time and a half working on Thanksgiving, plus an additional bonus. So, he doesn't mind working that night.

"I have to be there at 6 p.m. We usually do Thanksgiving early enough in the day, so I'm personally OK with it," he said.

He might be OK with it, but if you ask other people how they feel about retailers being open all day on Thanksgiving, a lot of them may say they don't like it. The response we got was overwhelmingly negative.

  • One man said, "When is it going to end? I just hate to see people working more holidays rather than fewer holidays."

  • Another talked about his Thanksgiving meal when he said, "Hey, you only get one decent meal a year. Why mess it up?"

  • One woman told us, "I don't like it at all. I want to get through one holiday before we start another one."

But is a business being open all day on Thanksgiving a new concept? Some retail analysts say it really isn't.

"Food retailers, for many years, have been open on Thanksgiving Day to provide those services to people that are preparing their Thanksgiving meals," Utah Retail Merchants Association President Dave Davis said.

He added, "That's one of the biggest days for movie theaters."

Davis said he respects the opinions of people who don't want big-box stores to be open. At the same time, he believes a lot of customers may want to be able to go shopping that day. But, he said retailers are very focused on the bottom line, so, "I think it is very fair to say that if there is no demand for shopping on Thanksgiving, then I think that retailers will stop offering that service."

He said if shoppers come to big-box stores to get deals on Thanksgiving Day, we can expect to see it happen every year in the future.

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