I’ve never been a coffee-drinker, but I think I’m about to start. With the holiday season now begun in earnest, holiday hours at the are being taken to new levels, to the dismay of its already-bedraggled employees, and with questionable benefits. But before I get carried away, let’s start at the beginning, with Black Friday…
Last year, the mall opened for retail’s biggest day at 4 a.m., which I know because I lined up with the best of ‘em to bust some doors before heading in to work a shift that ended at midnight. This year, I found myself walking into the mall very late on Thanksgiving in order to open the doors and start work at midnight. As I threw back a Red Bull and marched myself out to greet customers in those wee hours, I had to wonder if things had gone too far.
Make no mistake, Black Friday still earns its name – which designates the start of holiday shopping, a day in which companies historically made it “into the black” financially. There was already a line down the hall at Victoria's Secret and people abuzz everywhere you looked at 11:30 Thursday night, and the crowds were enough to keep my coworkers’ adrenaline going during that unusual shift.
However, things slowed down drastically around 3 a.m., when those who stayed up late to shop had gone home to sleep and before the early-risers had arrived. So, yes, people were shopping at midnight, but this writer is unconvinced that those same people wouldn’t have done the same amount of shopping at 4 a.m. I must not be alone – notably dark so early were J. Crew, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, and Sears, just a few who chose to forego the midnight decree.
Black Friday was only the beginning. The new holiday hours expand weekly from here on out, and stand as thus:
Now to Dec. 8: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dec. 9 to 16: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Dec. 17 to 23: 7 a.m. to midnight
Dec. 24: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: closed
Dec. 26: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This means that anyone working a closing shift at a store in the mall during that final week before Christmas will be at work until 12:30 a.m. or 1 a.m. Obviously my opinion is biased as one such employee, but do people really need or want to go shopping at midnight? Furthermore, from the point of view of the stores, is it really fiscally beneficial to be open so much longer? When is enough enough, or is this just more of a good thing?