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A little respect

Once upon a time, we suppose, Black Friday was a good idea. People, many of them, are off work, and going shopping seems a reasonable way to work off the unreasonable excesses of the Thanksgiving feast, and an excellent way for merchants to kick off the holiday shopping frenzy with an exclamation point.

Merchants – those of the big-box variety, at any rate – are a lot like golfers in one respect. You find a swing key that works, you turn your wrist just a fraction one way or the other, perhaps...then you overdo it, turning just a bit too far, until it no longer works. Until, in fact, it works against you.

That's what big boxes are doing with Black Friday.

Time was, all the stores and malls opening at, oh, 8 in the morning or so was kind of exciting. Get up early, go snag a bargain.

It worked so well, the big box marketing mavens couldn't help but overdo it.

Eight in the morning became 6 in the morning which became midnight which has now, apparently, become right after the pie is eaten on Thursday.

There is considerable verbal upset. What, more and more of us are beginning to wonder, ever happened to Thanksgiving, one of the last great holidays that hadn't succumbed to commercialization?

Whether verbal grumbling will turn into something more active, something that the big box marketing mavens will notice on their bottom lines, remains to be seen. We fear it won't. A deal is a deal is a deal, and it's hard to resist, no matter how much we might grumble.

Our Main Street merchants will be open on Friday, but will keep reasonable hours. We don't suspect that many are going to leave the dinner table on Thursday to head back downtown to open up the cash registers.

We can all reward them for that thoughtfulness not only on Friday, but also on Saturday, which has become known as Small-Business Saturday.

Our local small businesses have a lot to offer. You will be surprised at how much of your shopping lists can get crossed off with a visit.

Give them a chance. And while you're at it, give them a thanks for respecting Thanksgiving traditions that are getting so pounded elsewhere.

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