It’s like a bad trip to Disneyland, only you never really get the satisfaction of riding Space Mountain. Some families, however, seem to enjoy the deals, the steals and the “thrill” of the hunt, and plan to spend Thanksgiving evening at the mall. In 2012, research from the Consumer Electronics Association claimed that more than one in three American adults will shop on Black Friday and Thanksgiving.
But are they really making the most of their holiday season? The answer may well be a definite no. As a former retail employee at a candy and miscellaneous gift store, I loathed the holiday seasons while away at college. It wasn’t just the fact that I was spending my Thanksgiving hours away from my family without holiday pay (Okay, maybe it was that, too), It was the fact that retail stores continually ripped thousands of unsuspecting customers off from their purchases while consumers rushed stepped in, tripping over themselves to spend a pretty penny for the “deal of a lifetime.”
Retail stores generally markup their prices 30 percent just weeks before Thanksgiving or even in mid-October, when stores are more likely to be inhabited. They allow a few weeks for these prices to stay at an abominable height, coaxing their customers to believe this is the actual retail price.
Then Black Friday hits and the markdowns begin. The purchase price for many items tend to sink 10 to 40 percent in an effort to promote impulsive buys from Black Friday deals. Because of this, costumers usually save only 10 percent on their purchases at most compared to year-round shopping sprees. The strategy is known as visual telepathy or shock advertising, which is a handy hoax against the unsuspecting mass of consumers when they see the before and after prices listed nearby.
Although not all stores or brands are prone to this sting, it is best to do your homework by keeping track of your future purchases in August or October before November hits.
That being said, please be respectful towards the fellow staff members who graciously gave up their holiday tradition so that you may have yours. It is always important to look at the situation from the staffs’ point of view while purchasing your gifts.
Despite working in a candy shop, there was nothing sweet about working during the holidays, especially when you know the customers are drowning in a mass of seething hate as they attempt to beat each other to the register. Thanksgiving night always seemed like a cataclysmic onslaught of angry holiday shoppers lined up (if only) by the thousands.
Sure, you have to wait in line behind thousands of people, which is a tough job, but those staffers have to serve those very same people, and take a lot of hoopla in the process. You’ve made it a prerogative to line up at the storefront. They, however, are forced to rely on that very paycheck.
But of course, I am biased. When the average consumer spends $423 worth of merchandise per person on Thanksgiving (according to the National Retail Federation) during an 8 p.m. time slot, it is difficult to remain cheery. Especially when you are dreaming about all that turkey.
But if you do happen to spend your Thanksgiving evening shopping, please be kind, courteous and reasonable with the staff members. And always extend a hearty wish of goodwill towards your neighbors. If they can’t reciprocate the small notion, then be thankful that you have civility, which is what the holidays are all about.