While it’s not unusual for stores to extend their hours around the holidays, retailers have started taking it to another level.
Begun at 7 a.m. Friday, Macy’s is open through midnight Sunday to host its last One Day Sale (which, despite the name, actually lasts more than two days) of the year. Toys R Us, which has been open until midnight or 1 a.m. regularly since Black Friday, will be open 24 hours a day now through 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
This isn’t entirely a new practice. Macy’s started experimenting with 24-hour shopping in select stores in 2006, according to a news release. Toys R Us is in its third consecutive year of offering 24-hour shopping in the days leading up to Christmas, according to Alyssa Peera, a representative from the retailer.
Outside of that, you’ll find that many stores are opening at 6 or 7 a.m. and not closing until midnight this weekend, and sometimes keeping those hours through Monday.
Blog readers are generally supportive of extended shopping hours during the holiday season, but most don’t see the need for stores to be open all night. We already have 24/7 shopping at our fingertips with online shopping and most admitted they don’t see themselves ever being in a store past midnight. Parents and shoppers who work odd hours, however, appreciate stores being open early and staying open until midnight.
Blog reader Meghan wrote, “I love going to Toys R Us around 8-9 at night. My boys are already asleep and I can shop in peace! That’s the latest that I will shop though.”
And reader Other John added, “We do the bulk of our shopping later in the day, usually after 9 p.m. We do that because I would much rather have to shop around the stockers, than hoards of other shoppers. But, the places we typically shop are either already 24-hour or open until 10-midnight anyway, so it [additional stores being open 24 hours] doesn’t help us a bit.”
However, blog reader Reynold was one who enjoys the late night hours, which he says are less busy and can offer a better selection of merchandise.
What surprised me were the readers who commented that a store staying open 24 hours made them less likely to shop there. Walmart and various drug stores have been open 24 hours a day for years. Black Friday has extended itself into Thanksgiving evening, creating a 48-hour shopping binge. So, what makes this any worse?
Cathy commented, “It just shows that they care more about their bottom line than their employees & I don’t care to support companies that exhibit such corporate greed.”
LAB agreed, writing: “Extending hours by a few hours is OK. Being open all night is not. That just shows me that these stores don’t care about their employees and I will not support that.”
However, retailers are businesses — it’s no secret that they’re in it for the money. We won’t know how successful this move is until January, but I have the feeling they wouldn’t be open unless they were confident it would give them a holiday boost over the competition.
Also, for those who like to work extra hours around November and December, these businesses are providing that opportunity. I hate the idea of folks spending their holidays working but that’s not the case here. The stores will close on the evening of Christmas Eve.
Reader RM made an argument similar to this, writing: “Cathy, more hours equal more jobs, just what we need in this economy. Why shouldn’t stores be focused on profits? They are not in the charity business. Profits equal more jobs. For some people late night work hours better fit their schedule. I would like to see stores open earlier year around. 9 a.m. would be good, 10 a.m. and half the day is gone.”
Shopping at crazy hours has even become a tradition for many. Members of my family love heading out to Walmart after a food-filled Thanksgiving Day.
Though I won’t be at the mall past midnight or before 9 a.m., it doesn’t mean others won’t go. And if people want to work the hours, why not let them?
If we want the brick-and-mortar retail world to stick around, it has to come up with its own ways to stand out.
If you’re venturing out to shop this weekend, tell me about your experience. Join the conversation on the Shoptimist blog at blogs.roanoke.com/shoptimist.