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On the subject of expanded shopping options on Thanksgiving weekend, one MNB user wrote, responding to a reader who yearned for the good old days when stores were closed on major holidays…

Long time reader, first time correspondent…

Yes, we get it.  Things were better in the 60s.  People were happier and kinder and everything was rosy.  But it’s 2013 (almost 2014) and people (I mean women and especially working mothers) work.  So stores that stay open until 6.00 don’t get my business (I’m at work), stores that aren’t open on Sundays don’t get my business (I can’t get everything done on Saturday because M-F, I’m at work).

The fundamental nature of society has changed.  Approximately 2/3 of all women with children under 18 are in the workforce.  So that magical time your reader refers to when people seemed to be able to find a time to buy their food M-S 9.00-6.00 doesn’t exist anymore.  And it’s not because stores are greedy (though they might well be).  It’s that women work.  And it’s about time some of you readers start to understand this.

I'm with you.

Except that I would not be one to say that things used to be "better" and that people were happier and kinder. I actually would argue that we live in a happier, more inclusive and tolerant society today. It is hardly without challenges, but I don't buy the idea that the good old days were somehow superior.

MNB user Ken Wagar wrote:

I know you are not particularly in favor of bricks and mortar retailers being open on Thanksgiving but your comment shown below amazed me.
I completely understand the traditional feeling toward Thanksgiving, and actually share the sense it. But the thing is, Amazon and its online brethren will be open all day on Thanksgiving … and traditional retailers have to compete with that. I feel their pain.
Since when did being open on Thanksgiving become the standard for competing with On-line? Using this argument everyone should be open 24/7 365 days of the year and I can’t believe you think that would make ANY difference in the competitive battles that are taking place.

I suspect that the people that will actually get in a car and drive to Kmart to shop on Thanksgiving are very different in any number of ways from those that may spend some time on-line from home or on a mobile device to purchase a few items. To believe this move will have any impact that particular day or long term on Kmarts success at retail is just plain silly. There are 100s of things K-mart needs to do to be more successful and this one IMHO falls way down the list.

Point taken.

Perhaps what I should've written is that traditional retailers may feel that they need to expand their hours on Thanksgiving in order to compete with online retailers.


Michael Sansolo and I were talking about this the other day, and he suggested that a lot of this argument is built on the premise that every family in America is sitting around eating turkey, watching football and bonding on Thanksgiving. Which may not be the case.

Which gives me an idea for a TV commercial for Kmart, which has shown itself to be willing to use cheeky ads to garner attention.

It should open on a Thanksgiving dinner that looks like something out of Norman Rockwell, and then the camera pans next door to another house, where an extended family is engaged in fights, arguments, and all the other crap that sometimes happens when families get together. Then, they cut to the inside of a Kmart, where arguing family is seen walking the aisles doing their Christmas shopping.

The voiceover is simple: "Kmart. Open Thanksgiving. Saving families."

I think it could work…
KC's View: