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What's next, Black Wednesday?

November 26, 2010 - Rob Weaver
When Black Friday comes I'll stand down by the store And marvel at the shoppers when they line up outside the door (apologies to Donald Fagen and Walter Becker)

I noticed something unusual on the way home from work Friday morning. I had company. I don't work as late now as I did when I was news editor. Back then, I'd leave the office after the presses rolled, usually about 2 a.m. And usually, there were few others on the road at that time of the morning. Typically, the streets would be void of traffic save for the patrol officer making the rounds at the car dealerships and retail stores on Tiffin's west side. I only work that late occasionally, and Thursday night was one such occasion. The press started shortly after midnight, and I headed home about 12:15 a.m. First, I noticed an atypical amount of traffic on West Market Street. Soon, I discovered where the traffic was going. The parking lot at Walmart nearly was full. A steady stream of cars was turning into the lot, and a like number were leaving. And I realized Black Friday was under way. Or has it become Black Thursday? The holiday shopping used to kick off the day after Thanksgiving, hence the term Black Friday, supposedly when Christmas shoppers pushed retailers' bottom lines into the black. But the stores began vying for sales by scheduling ever-earlier opening times. “Doorbuster sales” began at 6 a.m., then 5 a.m., then 4 a.m. Now, some stores open Thanksgiving Day. To me, this seems rude. No, I don't think we need a blue law to prohibit opening on a holiday. And I understand not everyone wants to stay home and watch football all afternoon and evening on Thanksgiving. But I do feel sorry for people who have to go to work on the holiday. But I suspect the advancing shopping schedule may provide its own solution. Eventually, retailers might begin the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving eve. Those doorbuster sales could begin, say, Wednesday afternoon. And that commute home Thanksgiving night could be more tranquil.


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