Shopping on Black Friday is one thing. But stop and think before you go shopping on Thanksgiving day.
That employee, that manager... they don't want to be there. They are there for one reason only...their job is forfeit if they aren't. As a furniture manager at a "big box" retail store, I am required by my district manager to be there from 2pm until 11pm Thanksgiving day. Not only that, I am also required to be there the day before and to pull a long shift on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will miss in its entirety all of Thanksgiving weekend. No dinner. No family or friends. No football, neither touch with the kids or on TV over a beer with the other family members. No way to travel to see your out of town family
Do not think that I am paid extravagantly for this. I make a modest hourly wage and have been employed by the company for over 4 years. I do not make commission on my sales, so it's not like I can use the extra cash from this day to pay for some vacation later in the year. In truth, other than keeping my job in this extremely tough job market, there is no motivation to be there. I know there are plenty of people that have to work over Thanksgiving: police, firemen, paramedics, hospitals and the like. Gas station attendants, too. But, most of these folks get at least some consideration for their sacrifices because they are truly needed by society and typically they at least get some of the weekend off to spend with loved ones.
So, before you show up and make loads of purchases on things that you could get 363 other days of the year (at least my store IS closed on Christmas... for now) and for not much more, think how less likely the company would be to open their doors on what is truly a day that should be spent with their families and loved ones. Are you truly that greedy that you want to buy an off brand TV or a refurbished vacuum cleaner and save maybe 15 bucks between them?
Think about the person you want to be and how you want to treat your fellow man. Then weigh that against saving a few bucks on an item that is most likely not even a gift but a personal "want."
The stores are only open because customers show up that day. If they refuse to show up before Friday, then the sales will happen Friday. Customers drive the hours, not the companies.
And, at least if you DO still show up, be kind to the people serving you. Be patient and give them a smile. If you think standing in line or not getting the last gizmo on sale for $14.99 sucks, imagine what their day has been like. Think back to the fond moments you just spent with your family: the jokes around the table. Seeing your aunt from out of state after a couple of years. The food, the laughter and the love. All the things to be thankful for. Then look at your cashier, or the harried manager trying to make everyone happy in the long lines and think about how they would have liked to have at least a portion of your good day.