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Good for them. I'm old enough so that I've been to enough Black Friday sales that I know nothing but shit is offered. I don't even leave the house on Black Friday simply because it's such a pain to go anywhere. I'd rather pay extra and avoid the lines, so good on REI for hopefully starting a trend that rolls back Black Friday a little.

Why stay in? The parks are empty! Personally, I go surfing.

You'd be surprised a lot of outdoor people go do things the day after thanksgiving because they have off. Last year I went trout fishing and it was unexpectedly crowded.

And also a lot of times they're with groups of family and friends they don't get to see every day or weekend.

In the united states more people travel further over the thanksgiving holiday than Christmas.

Last year we did Mt Whitney via the mountaineer's route. This year I'm doing Williamson and Tyndall.

As a non American.. it really confuses the heck out of me that Black Friday sales are starting on the preceding Thursday at like 6pm in some cases.

As an American, it confuses the heck out of me, too.

I sometimes think of the "retail ruining of Thanksgiving" as a pretty good argument against libertarianism. That is, if government mandated that stores can't open on Thanksgiving, pretty much EVERYONE benefits: stores don't really WANT to open early, they just want to open before their competitors. A mandated open time prevents the "race to the bottom... of Thanksgiving morning". Similarly, bargain hunters don't want to miss out on Thanksgiving either - they just want to get the best deals.

Merchants and consumers voluntarily doing something on or around a holiday you personally revere is definitely not an argument against libertarianism. Your "pretty much EVERYONE benefits" line is though, since libertarianism is very much concerned with individual rights over majority rule.

Keep in mind that some people not only like to stretch their dollar, but they don't have the luxury of shopping online, or when the malls are open. Not everyone works 9-5 on weekdays. Not everyone owns a computer, has broadband, or is computer savvy. And not everyone saves their "thanks" and family time for the last Thursday in November (some people actually bond during Black Friday shopping!). Majority opinion, thank God, is not how we run this country.

Keep in mind that stores employ people, and those employees don't often get a say in whether they work black friday or not (not if they want to stay very long at that store).

Ultimately, that's why I kind of finally got on board with the fact that most stores (and even restaurants) are closed on Sundays in France - especially since the rule on whether a store can be open on Sunday is that the owner of the store needs to be present during all business hours.

That law around the owner having to be present is a wonderful way of giving flexibility on opening hours, while making the person in power seriously consider the trade offs. I'm curious though, how does that work for chains such as Starbucks where I'm sure they don't mandate the CEO personally attend every branch.

Of course they get a say. No one is holding a gun to their head. Yeah, they might not stay at that store, but in a tight labor market, there's another workplace that would have a position that would fit their schedule or their life-work balance better.

But you need to trade your precious time and effort to get paid. Mandating that there should be no trade on the nth day of the week/month/year, days that were arbitrarily set by a bunch of dead white guys trying to appease their subjects or gods is just mind boggling to me. That should definitely not be a basis for a one-size-fits-all rule for people in vastly different circumstances who wish (often need) to trade or not trade.

How are they defining ownership? If someone takes out a mortgage on their store do they have to get the bank manager down there whenever they're open? Can a big firm nominate some putz to be the owner of record?

No on either, from my knowledge. Local towns also have stricter ownership laws and less franchises.

The point is that the two are economically equivalent.

I think it's an excellent argument FOR libertarianism. If something as minor as you being confused by stores not following your preconceptions about Black Friday (which is a completely artificial concept, and not invented by you either) is considered enough for government intervention and prohibiting people to shop when they want and store owners to open when they want - it definitely looks like an argument for not giving you (or anyone) a power to actually have such influence. The bar is just way too low. If people are unable to distinguish between their personal confusion and a serious problem that requires government to intervene, then limiting the access to government intervention as much as possible, at least until people are mature enough to distinguish between serious issues and their personal quirks, looks like a very prudent idea. The alternative would be a random hodgepodge of weird laws and bylaws, composed of somebody's personal quirks, by now long forgotten, which summarily is bad for everyone but not dismissed because everyone wants their chance to implement their own quirks. Which of course no country would want to happen to them... oh wait...

There are plenty of countries in the world that prevent stores from opening on specific days or times, and it's not exactly like these countries are backward cesspools of government oppression.

I went Black Friday shopping a few years ago when midnight was the earliest opening. We got some good deals, and it was fun, but I don't like that I'm partly to blame for making all those employees work on Thanksgiving.

We don't have nearly enough national holidays in the U.S., and I don't want to take this one away from anyone.

I really don't get some public holidays either. Here in Victoria, Australia, they introduced a new public holiday this year the day before a sporting event to celebrate that sporting event (the AFL grand final). It's official name is - I kid you not "Friday before the AFL Grand Final"

It is incredibly bizarre.

It's one of those things where the starting line just keeps moving forward. I remember several years ago when people were lamenting how the day after Halloween was when stores immediately started stocking Christmas supplies and decorations. Now Halloween isn't even the starting point.

I suspect that this somewhat has to do with the decline in retail dollars and the higher-ups are milking whatever they can get their hands on to keep sales going.

Back 15 years ago or so, when I was in college, a friend and I went by Best Buy and Circuit City to get really cheap spindles of CDs. The CDs were junky, but they didn't need to be great. Right after college, I worked Black Friday at Best Buy and we had some really junky DVD players for $35 or so. Hell, we got two full trucks the night before Thanksgiving at our small store and we had them stacked so high in the warehouse that the stacks eventually collapsed and we were just throwing them onto huge piles. They're packed pretty well, but I can't guarantee that we didn't break any of those junky players any worse than they already were.

However, a few years ago (2009), my wife and I went out late Thanksgiving night for a midnight Toys R Us opening… then Old Navy… then Walmart… then Kmart. It was certainly crazy, but we saved around $300. We got video games, Lego sets and toys. All of it was stuff we wanted, and none of it was junk.

Would I do it again? With the perspective of how it interrupts Thanksgiving for all those employees, I think probably not. I'd be part of the problem. But it definitely paid off at the time.

Sort of aside— you don't have to drop your turkey leg and rush out the door on Thanksgiving to get in line to get good deals. Ignore the doorbusters and drop by the stores anytime later in the day. There's lots of other good stuff that's legitimately on sale that's still there all day. Costco doesn't even open early on Black Friday, and their sales go through the weekend.

How much did you spend to save $300?

We were shopping for a December birthday and Christmas, so I'd guess somewhere around $600. In my $300 number, I'm also including a copy of Lego Rock Band for Xbox 360 that Old Navy was giving out for free just by being one of the first 100 or so people in the door and making a purchase, so that inflates it a bit.

That's actually an interesting story. Old Navy was #2 on our list of stores, I think a 3 a.m. opening. The line wasn't all that bad—everybody lined up along the front of the store. Around maybe 2:50, a bunch of people started showing up, waiting just in the parking lot in front of the store. As soon as they opened the doors, these people tried to rush the store and skip the line, pushing the people who had been waiting out of the way.

You'd better believe the people who had been waiting in the cold for a few hours were not happy about this. There's thousands of Black Friday fight videos on YouTube. They aren't caused by polite people suddenly turning into assholes at the thought of cheap junk. They're caused by assholes trying to cheat a pretty orderly system.

I don't have a Lego Rock Band or an Xbox 360 and I'm doing fine.

In the UK, ASDA did one last year and people were fighting over "Polaroid" TVs aka ASDA's own brand .__.

This is why online shopping is a goldmine.

With the workers safely hidden in the warehouses, we can ignore their plight and feel like we did the right thing for someone, at least.

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