Black Friday may be turning Thanksgiving gray

Consumers are already lining up outside Best Buy in Orem for "Black Friday" shopping. Best Buy will open at six on Thanksgiving night. Photo by Anders Piiparinen.
Consumers are already lining up outside Best Buy in Orem for Black Friday shopping. Best Buy will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Photo by Anders Piiparinen.

Big retailers are opening their doors for Black Friday deals hours before Black Friday officially begins this year. Over the years, Black Friday store openings have gone from opening at 6 a.m. on Friday, to midnight, to now opening on Thursday. Feelings are mixed about these big box stores invading Thanksgiving in an effort to drive sales and start the holiday shopping season.

“Thanksgiving is being taken over as it is and I think this is just another example of Thanksgiving getting pushed to the back for Christmas,” said Debbie Roberts, a nurse and mother of three from Payson. “I think that is sad; it’s a national holiday for a reason.”

Roberts’ husband, Mark, said the family went Black Friday shopping once, only to find chaos and crowds. They left with nothing.

“Our Thanksgiving weekend is not a shopping weekend,” he said.

Mark Roberts’ family, like many others around the country, spends time eating food, playing a “Turkey Bowl” football game, and doing other activities that focus on spending time together.

This year’s Thanksgiving, however, falls days later in the month than other years, meaning a shorter holiday shopping season. For retailers, this is likely a factor for why many stores are opening earlier, some on Thanksgiving day.

BYU family life professor Jeffrey Hill gave his opinion on how Black Friday can affect Thanksgiving day.

“If you are (shopping) individually it is encroaching, but with families it could be a big bonding family activity,” he said.

The father of 12 said his family has been involved with Black Friday shopping when it has been on Friday. He said wherever his family goes, about half get involved with the Friday shopping festivities, trying to be strategic and beat out the crowds.

“I think it’s really fun when it’s on Friday, but I think it’s infringing on kind of a sacred time on Thursday,” Hill said.

Other families and individuals have made Black Friday shopping a ritual, in some cases waiting in line for more than a week for doors to open. Best Buy in Orem will open its doors at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and there are already several people camped out with different opinions about the issue.

“If they want to do it earlier, that’s fine by me,” said Orem resident Logan Burr, who has been camped outside Best Buy since Nov. 18. “People will still come out either way.”

Burr and his father, Dale, take turns saving their spot in line, waiting for the “Black Friday” doors to open. Burr said he and his family have been camping out at Best Buy in Orem for eight or nine years, and often have their Thanksgiving meal while waiting in line.

However, an earlier opening means less time for the family to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner if they get it at all. All those who have set up tents will be required to take them down hours earlier than they are used to in order to make room for other shoppers.

“Personally I’m a little disappointed because I actually work until 7 p.m. that day,” Burr said. “So I personally won’t be here, but my dad will and we always have friends and family that will.”

Pedro Lopez, an Orem resident originally from Ecuador, is also camped out and plans on spending thousands of dollars on Black Friday for his two businesses and family. Big savings on home appliances, televisions, computers and office supplies are worth the wait, he said. With stores opening on Thursday that actually gives him and his family more time to shop the deals. It doesn’t bother him.

“I have four kids, and if I waited until two weeks before Christmas, I’m going to spend a lot more money,” Lopez said.

It seems even for the devoted Black Friday shopper, the change in time still has an effect, in some way, that has been different to prior years when stores waited until Friday to open.

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