PATEL: Store closures on Thanksgiving appeal to family values

PatelcolorWith Thanksgiving approaching, and thoughts of family dinners, football and time off of school, many people are more excited about the day after, known in American society as Black Friday. It is a day where shopping is the main event and starting early is crucial if you want to get the good deals.

Typically, Black Friday starts early Friday morning or midnight the night before. In recent years, businesses have been opening earlier and earlier, encroaching upon Thanksgiving Day. This policy, in turn, encourages shoppers to line up sooner to stay with the changing times.

This year, some notable businesses including Costco, TJ Maxx, Game Stop and Radio Shack, stated they will not be open Thanksgiving in order to give their employees time off to spend with their friends and families. These retailers said they will close for the holiday out of respect for their employees. Radio Shack even stated they will give their employees paid time off for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

While this decision is perfectly respectable for these companies to make, it seems strange given how many people would shop at if these stores were open and offering sales. The amount of business that would be diverted to other stores seems like enough to reconsider such a costly move.

Some say it is a public relations stunt for the businesses to demonstrate the family values customers may uphold. They could also be learning from the failed example of Sears and Kmart, two stores that remained open all Thanksgiving Day last year and saw sales drop, despite efforts to draw more business.

The question remains if customers are more driven to shop at a store if they are open on the holiday or if they will be put off by the perceived values of a store open on Thanksgiving. Stores such as Costco and Radio Shack could be on the right track if they are trying to appease families and their values. Most of the stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving are described as more of family or home stores, which may justify their business decisions.

Radio Shack and Game Stop, however, compete with other electronic retailers that will open as early as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving such as Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart. If they would remain open on Thanksgiving, Radio Shack and Game Stop could bring in a lot of business from customers looking for deals; closing may actually hurt their business. 

Stores that will remain closed on Thanksgiving are making a statement about family values and employee respect. We often do not think about those who sacrifice their own holiday to make 6 p.m. or midnight store openings possible. By giving employees the full holiday off, and even paying them for it, these businesses show appreciation for employees who are likely making minimum wage and working the holiday just for the extra pay. Everyone deserves time off to spend with loved ones, and often this time is sacrificed because bills need to be paid.

When stores open progressively earlier on Thanksgiving, businesses do not acknowledge the sacrifice employees make nor the family audience they are targeting. Businesses like Costco and Radio Shack are giving back to employees rather than taking time away from their families, which is reason to respect their decision this holiday season.