Shoppers debate Thankgiving Day store openings

Retail experts are projecting that 33 million Americans will begin their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day this year as more stores than ever have announced special “Black Friday” deals one day early.

That is down from the number of Thanksgiving Day shoppers last year, as is the overall Thanksgiving weekend spending forecast.

Many local consumers say the Thanksgiving hours are getting out of hand and threaten the sanctity of a traditionally family-focused holiday.

“This is a time to be with family,” Frank Devon Patterson said on Facebook. “This year my dollar goes to the company who repects family values.”

The most common reason cited for objecting to the new hours was sympathy for workers who would have to forgo their family celebrations.

Some people have even created and shared badges on social media declaring their pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving in support of workers. “If I’m shopping, someone else is working and NOT spending time with their family,” one such badge declares.

According to a survey by the Georgetown Institute of Consumer Research released Nov. 14, more than 17 percent of Americans plan to go shopping after their Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. That’s compared to 47 percent of respondents who said they will take a nap post-dinner.

But the majority of those who plan to pursue Thanksgiving deals said they will start shopping on Black Friday — 69 percent according to the National Retail Federation.

The NRF’s annual survey asked shoppers about their Thanksgiving Day shopping plans for the first time this year and found that 24 percent of those that plan to shop next weekend intend to do so on Thursday.

Donica Priser of Huber Heights said she and her daughter went shopping on Thanksgiving for the first time last year because the best deals on items she wanted were moved to that day.

She wasn’t alone. According to the NRF more than 35 million Americans visited retailers’ stores and websites on Thanksgiving in 2012, up from 29 million in 2011. The NRF estimates that seven out of 10 Thanksgiving Day shoppers this year will be people who also shopped on the holiday last year.

Some that do plan to shop on Thanksgiving cited saving money as a big draw.

“With finances the way they are I have to go where the deals are,” said Laura Luke of Kettering.

While some, like Priser, said shopping is now part of the family tradition. “Our family as a whole always has an early dinner and has plenty of time to spend together before we would need to leave for shopping,” she said. As long as stores don’t move the doorbuster time up to midday, she said she’ll continue to share the holiday shopping experience with her daughter.

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