If you thought that Americans would respond to the spread of crass holiday commercialism to Thanksgiving with outrage and moral indignation--you would be 1000% wrong. We served an early meal at the Krause house on Thursday--so the guests were gone by 5:30. That's when I headed to the Radio Ranch to get stories ready for this morning. That gave me a front row seat to the chaos unfolding at the neighboring Super Evil Empire starting at 6:00.
The lot was 2/3rds full by 6:30--completely full by 7:00 (with cars lined up on Washburn waiting to get in)--and it stayed that way until I left around 8:45. I then made a quick swing past ShopKo on the way home to find the longest line to get into a store that I have seen in person since tickets for Paul McCartney at Milwaukee County Stadium went on sale at the TicketMaster in the Boston Store in Green Bay twenty years ago. The ShopKo line started at the south entrance to the store--followed the entire length of the building and all the way back to the Cousin's Subs in the next building! And then you had people still sitting in their cars in the parking lot as well.
So, while I certainly have empathy for the employees of these stores who were agitated about having to work on the holiday, it is VERY obvious that the retailers are only giving people what they want. I talked with a few people for use in our stories this morning and they all said the same thing: "We're done with dinner and we don't have anything else to do today--so we figured we would go shopping!"
Don't think that the response to the Thanksgiving doorbusters won't go unnoticed at the retailers that DIDN'T open yesterday. And that includes the stores that mocked the others with the ads that touted the fact they weren't open "so their employees could spend time with their families". Keep in mind that the "Shopping Season" will be a full week shorter next year--as Thanksgiving moves backward on the calendar again--and the need to maximize sales will be at a premium. It will also plant the seed in executives minds that maybe it would be worthwhile to open on Christmas Day as well. Think of the crowd you could get as the ultimate last minute shoppers combine with those looking to spend the gift cards they got just ten minutes ago--and those who can't wait to exchange or return the unwanted gifts as soon as humanly possible!
Needless to say, yesterday's shopping frenzy proves once again that H.L. Mencken was absolutely correct when he said "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people".