An open letter to American retailers:
I'm making a list, and checking it twice.
No, not a shopping list, or a list of who in my family has been good or bad this year.
I'm writing a list of all of you who insist on being open for business on Thanksgiving, and furthermore, those of you who continue to push the feeding frenzy of "Black Friday" earlier and earlier each year.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for all of us, as Americans, to pause and give thanks for those things most important in our lives - to have the simple satisfaction of spending this most American of holidays with our families, our friends, and our loved ones. Your incessant efforts to compete with one another for our dollars - to maximize the impact of your holiday sales figures to the bottom line - has become an annual practice of further marginalizing this holiday, and thereby consumers' ability to spend it in peace. It's not like we have been oblivious to this; we see your Christmas commercials and store decorations appearing even before we are finished passing out the Halloween candy, and I for one am sick of it.
The more dreadful fact, though, is that opening for business on Thanksgiving requires your employees to be away from their own families for the holiday. Granted, there are some people who work holidays regularly, and do so with understanding - firemen, police officers, doctors and nurses, pharmacists, and other employees who provide critical services to citizens. The difference between them and you is that when their services are needed, they are needed immediately. I've never once in my life known "shopping" to be an immediate need.
So I have begun making a list - of all of you who are open on Thanksgiving. Those of you that are commencing your "Black Friday" sales events on Thanksgiving, even as late as midnight, you get a big black check mark next to your name. I will be referring to this list as frequently as I need to, for the following reasons:
- For the rest of the shopping season, and for that matter the 2012 calendar year, I will make sure that I do absolutely no business with your company.
- In addition, I will give my very best effort to ensure I do no business with your company for all of 2013.
- Finally, I will share my list with everyone I know, and I will urge them to avoid doing business with your companies as well.
Somewhere on your path to maximize the corporate profits and provide a satisfactory return for your shareholders, you've lost sight of the most important element of your business - the human beings that you continually ask to do business with you. I am telling you that as long as you continue down this path, at the expense of your employees and the demand of your customers, I will be most deliberate in my efforts to keep my dollars out of your registers.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.