Monday, November 19, 2012

The Grinch That Stole Thanksgiving -- Boycott Thanksgiving Day Sales

Have you had enough of Black Friday yet? We're only days away from the Big Daddy of holiday shopping days, the relentless madness of 24 hour sales and dubious doorbuster deals. A couple of years ago we bristled at the idea of  retailers opening their doors at midnight Thursday. The madness continues as national retailers ranging from Macy's to Wal-Mart  plan to goose 2012 sales by launching Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day itself. 

We urge you. In the name of civility, stay home on Thursday. And when you do shop, shop local and take advantage of Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 24, which supports local merchants and local communities.

For those unfamiliar with the benefits of shopping local, research indicates that of every dollar you spend at local, small businesses, 80% is returned to the community.  And each dollar you spend at an independently owned small business will return up to 5 times that much to your community via city taxes, wages and purchases of materials to keep the business running at other local small businesses.

In contrast, chains and franchises only return 40% of each dollar spent to the community and as little as 20% back through taxes, wages, etc.  And keep in mind that big box chains like Wal-Mart contribute less through taxes, since many receive tax breaks.

To sweeten the Small Business Saturday campaign, American Express is offering an extra incentive for shopping local this Small Business Saturday. If you register your card for the Shop Local campaign, you will automatically be credited $25 on your next statement.  Help out your community and save money -- everyone wins! For more information on the campaign and to discover local small businesses near you, click here.

By supporting local businesses, you also support your neighbors who are employed by national retailers. No, most of them are not getting overtime for working Thanksgiving day, because retailers are clever enough to make sure they aren't assigned enough weekly hours to actually qualify for overtime pay. And while some employees may choose to work on Thanksgiving, most are not offered an option.

And even if you are dead broke, we ask you, as a consumer. Do you seriously believe that you are saving enough money to warrant trading the pie-festooned holiday table for the angry desperation of a Wal-Mart or Target parking lot? Do you feel compelled to forgo the fellowship of Thanksgiving to witness the folly of someone's grandmother getting trampled by a mob of wild-eyed shoppers? 

Is it really worth it to leave hearth and home just nab a lousy 10 percent discount on a crappy Chinese DVD player or big screen TV? Do you truly believe retailers are giving you a deal on Black Friday? Really?

Surely, most intelligent people understand that Black Friday is nothing more than a marketing concept, full of hype and fraud. Indeed, we are happy to report that Twitter, Facebook and citizen blogs are bursting with negative comments about retailers continual encroachment into the Thanksgiving holiday. 

So again, when you do your holiday shopping, we urge you to eschew the malls and big box retailers and instead participate in Small Business Saturday. But whenever you do your holiday shopping, we urge you to visit the shops on Old South Pearl Street and South Gaylord Street, Old Town Arvada or Boulder's 16th Street Mall. We urge you to shop the Tattered Cover, Twist and Shout, or Meininger's Art Supplies. Check out stores like Crème de la Couture in Englewood, the Tack Shack in Littleton or Athena's Closet in Denver. 

And instead of purchasing more mind-erasing electronics for loved ones, consider purchasing music lessons for someone at Swallow Hill Music, or instruction at a local horseback riding stable, yoga or tai chi studio.

More importantly, put down your wallet for the day and kick back on Thanksgiving. Pull up a sofa cushion and relish what you have around you right now, whether it is the comfort of friends and family, or the wonderful bliss of silence and solitude. My guess is that you will find that you have plenty to be thankful for. And it won't cost you a dime.

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