When K-Mart starts airing Christmas-themed ads as early as September, you know the holiday shopping frenzy has reached critical mass. So perhaps it's more surprising when retailers choose to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day rather than open up for pre-Black Friday business.
That didn't keep Macy's employees from feeling blindsided when they were asked to take part in a poll gauging their willingness to work on Turkey Day. One employee passed along the survey to The Consumerist; it explains that their store location will be open at 8 PM and asks if they will be able to work. But it doesn't sound like it matters very much--the next page reads:
We will do our best to honor your preferences. Based on the needs of the business we may still need you to work an opening shift. Please be sure to review your schedule for any assigned shifts.
It's part of a phenomenon that has earned Thanksgiving the moniker of Brown Thursday: Stores have been slowly creeping back their operating hours on the holiday weekend, from the early hours of Black Friday to midnight, and now, to Thanksgiving itself. Retailers like Target and Toys-R-Us have already begun opening their doors around 8 PM Thanksgiving Day to greet shoppers eager for deals.
Macy's had previously remained closed until at least midnight—though one employee, a security guard, does tell The Consumerist he had to report to work at 4 PM on Thursday—but it sounds like they're at least considering joining the ranks of those opening the night before. A Macy's rep told The Consumerist that the store had not released its holiday hours, so perhaps it's just weighing its options.
But at least one location—the Herald Square flagship—is reportedly planning Thanksgiving Day operation, according to WWD. Macy's, of course, receives huge publicity on Thanksgiving because of that little parade it runs through New York City every year. Last year, the Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue opened for business, capturing post-parade foot traffic. The Herald Square location will ask for volunteers to work the holiday, filling in staffing needs with less-senior staff if they don't get enough volunteers.
Still, with more people doing their holiday shopping online than ever—last year's Cyber Monday saw record-breaking numbers—does having brick and mortar locations open even matter? What's more, some department stores like Sears experimented with a Thanksgiving Day opening in the past and reported just "okay" sales. Sears chose to stay closed last Thanksgiving after disappointing numbers the year before.
The holiday retail landscape is changing; only time will tell if the sacrifice of family time for employees pays out in bigger sales numbers.