When They Open, Will You Shop?

Michelle Singletary
Columnist November 14, 2013

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s the time of the year retailers rejoice at Americans overconsumption.

Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, “The Color of Money.” View Archive

A few years ago, some major retailers began opening for business on Thanksgiving Day, a day we traditionally set aside to celebrate with our families. Last year, Kmart opened on Thanksgiving but closed for a few hours to allow workers to celebrate the holiday. But this year, the retailer said it will open and stay open for 41 straight hours—from 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day until 11 p.m. on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Some consumers are outraged at Kmart’s decision and took to social media, threatening to boycott the retailer if it didn’t reverse its decision, reports CNNMoney.

“Very upset that you think family values are not important when you choose to open Thanksgiving morning, at 6 AM!!!! Shame, shame, shame on you,” Dolores Canning wrote on Kmart’s Facebook page.

“I would like to let you know how upset I am that you will be opening your stores on Thanksgiving morning,” wrote Alexander Massa of Haddonfield, N.J. “Kmart, In case you’re not aware, your employees have families and deserve to spend that holiday with them. Not in your store. With that said, I will not be doing any of my holiday shopping at your store and will encourage friends and family to participate in my boycott.”

Others accepted the reality.

“Why the outrage?” wrote Skyler Perry of Atlanta. “Kmart is doing what businesses do... Make Money.”

Sherry Kuelz of Madison, Wis., supports the store’s decision to open on Thanksgiving. She wrote on the retailer’s Facebook page: “My son works there and LOVES to work the holidays, why? Because he is part time it gives him a chance to make more money and he’d rather work the holidays, he LOVEs it and it’s not like he works all 24 hours, he works 8 hours, or less, PERIOD. This still gives him the chance to have Thanksgiving with the family, Christmas with the family, and HE CHOOSES THE HOURS, it’s not like he’s FORCED to work the hours he doesn’t want…”

Kmart responded to the commenters on its Facebook page, saying: “We understand many associates want to spend time with their families during the holiday. With this in mind Kmart stores do their very best to staff with seasonal associates and those who are needed to work holidays.”

I’ve resigned myself to the trend. Other retailers have also announced their Thanksgiving Day shopping hours. Target said it planned to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open all night, closing at 11 p.m. on Black Friday, reports 24/7 Wall St., a content partner with USA Today. Best Buy, Kohl’s, J.C. Penny, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart are some of the stores that will open on Thanksgiving Day.

And you know what?

When they open, people will shop.

Color of Money Question of the Week

What do you think of stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? Send your responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “If They Open Will You Shop?” in the subject line.

Live Chat Today

Do you need advice on how to financially prepare for the holiday season? Join me, and I’ll give you some tips. I’ll also be live and ready to answer other personal finance questions at noon ET.

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

I know I feel it.

My weekend is full of work, so by Sunday I’m as tired as I was on Friday.

Earlier this week Amazon, in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, announced that it is planning to add Sunday to the company’s shipping schedule, reports The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang.

And just like the stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, the walls surrounding days we can just relax come tumbling down.

Amazon said it decided to add the extra day because of customers’ demands to receive their orders faster. But critics say this is one step closer to eliminating the idea of restful Sundays.

“The tradition of a seventh day set aside for family and rest has been crumbling for years as states relaxed laws prohibiting gambling, shopping and even hunting on Sundays,” writes Kang. “The popularity of smartphones and the creation of an always-online culture has spurred greater demand — and ability — to have it all, right now, anytime.”

(Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Debt Collection

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to hear from you. The watchdog agency is soliciting comments from the public and businesses before proposing rules to govern debt collectors. So, for last week’s Color of Money Question, I asked: “What dealings – good or bad – have you had with a debt collector?

Janine of Caldwell, N.J., said one debt collector called her home for a medical bill for someone else: “The debt was not even in my name. I was insulted and told I’m an irresponsible deadbeat who doesn’t know how to take of her own bills. The insults were unbelievable despite my attempts to explain that this debt is not mine.”

Crystina Kazmier of Fullerton, Calif., had to defend her good credit name against a debt collector that tried to collect a debt she didn’t owe. She wrote: “They were calling me at least twice per day and kept pressuring me to settle the debt for a lesser amount, which I didn’t want to do since I never owed anything. I asked them to provide proof of the debt, and they gave me a screenshot from their computer system showing the amount... nothing original and no actual proof. Finally, I found this [debt dispute] letter online and personalized it and sent it to them via certified mail. I never heard back, and the account was sold to a new collector. I think it took around two years (2005 - 2007) of me sending this letter to each new collector before I stopped getting collection notices for this and it finally fell off my credit reports.”

Tia Lewis contributed to this report.

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to postbusiness.com.

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