Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and holiday shopping

I’m not going to cite a specific news article for this post, because the news on this one is rather widespread and should easily be found. There has been a huge controversy over the past couple of weeks about retailers starting their Black Friday sales as early as 8pm Thanksgiving Day, effectively cutting into their employees’ Thanksgiving dinner time and complicating any travel plans they may have had to visit family in other cities.

This wouldn’t be so bad except for one thing. I, personally, have noticed a trend in recent years for seasonal merchandise to be out earlier and earlier. The Halloween season starts not all that long after Labor Day in September, and the Christmas/Yule merchandise is already out the first week of November. I’m all for marketing, in general, but it’s no secret that retailers profit handily during the Christmas/Yule shopping season and the greed inherent in promoting the season a whole two months in advance is quite palpable.

It comes down to basic economics. The retailers will not start Black “Friday” sales as far back as Thursday evening, or even Friday at midnight, if the demand isn’t there. It only takes one time for a retailer’s management to get burned by unnecessary labor costs on top of the headache of finding employees willing to blow off their Thanksgiving dinner to work (which, even in retail, is not quite as easy as it sounds), to realize they made a mistake. Hitting a retailer’s bottom line will make a much more profound and meaningful statement than a petition ever will. On the other hand, as long as there are enough people attending the early Black “Friday” sales the evening of Thanksgiving Day, they’ll be here to stay. Again, it’s all about supply and demand.

Brief note re: WordCamp Houston scholarship

For those that missed it, nominations are open for the WordCamp Houston scholarship per this post to That post also contains the link to apply for the scholarship if you qualify. This has been a long time coming and I regret that it took so long for me to get this post up to help spread the word. Anyway, nominations will remain open until December 1, so there’s still plenty of time both to apply and to spread the word to any interested students.

I am aware of the discrepancy between the announced amount of $2,500 versus the $3,000+ figure from Ms. Danna’s speech on video in 2010, and have inquired as to what’s going on. I thought about it for a while and to me, $500 is enough of a discrepancy that it needs to be accounted for, and I also feel it’s not right for the community to be left in the dark. Were it, say, $100 or so, it’d be a different story. I’ll follow up with what I find out in a final followup post on the topic slated for 2013 January.