NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: People enter Macy's Herald Square as the store opens its doors at 8 pm Thanksgiving day on November 28, 2013 in New York City. Black Friday shopping began early again this year with most major retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving day. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

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I have spent a good part of my life in retail sales. I’ve giving seminars on it and written three books about it.  And I’ve worked my share of holidays.

Every year the topic seems to be more widely publicized. Should stores be open on Thanksgiving?

Retail Rules of Thumb

The number one rule of retail — be open when the customers shops. As I mentioned before I have worked my share of holidays including stores that were open on Thanksgiving.

As we all know “Black Friday” begins the day after Thanksgiving. It’s the kickoff to the Christmas selling season. But do that many people really shop on Thanksgiving Day?

Let’s look at some numbers.

2013 Thanksgiving Day Traffic Numbers

  • Ninety-two million shoppers hit the stores on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. An increase from the 89 million the previous year. That’s almost one third of all Americans.
  • According to ShopperTrack, traffic in brick and mortar stores increased to 1.07 billion store visits on Thanksgiving Day 2013. A 2.8% increase over the previous year.
  • MasterCard SpendingPulse recorded a Thanksgiving purchasing increase of 23.7% year-over-year in 2013.
  • Consumer electronics had triple digit growth on Thanksgiving in 2013 compared to 2012.

What About The Poor Employees?

Is it really fair for “big box stores” to force employees to skip the traditional family get together to make some greedy CEO a little richer?

When you look at the above numbers it would seem that being open is what shoppers really want although they would only say that under oath.

“Those poor employees, I’ll take one of those $99 laptops please.” I guess as long as you are going to be open anyway I might as well dump my family and go shopping too.

Some Final Thoughts

I really didn’t mind working on Thanksgiving. Usually it was either, time and half or at some stores double time, which meant I had a few extra bucks for Christmas shopping.

Does it really matter if the store is closed on Thanksgiving Day proper only to open at midnight that same day? I guess a heavy turkey dinner would get you a nice nap before going in to work all night.

Feel free to voice your discontent for stores catering to the whims of their customers. But cops, fireman, the NBA, NFL and every worker related to that industry will be working that day because you want them to. What would Thanksgiving be without football?

So before you attack some nameless faceless CEO keep in mind you are the one demanding that he or she take care of your wants and needs.

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