Shopping on Thanksgiving might not be an option (and we like that)

Kelly Dawson
November 9, 2018
5 min read
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There are quite a few complicated debates that can occur over Thanksgiving weekend. As far as dinner is concerned, thoughts as innocent as, Should I really eat a second helping of stuffing? can intermingle with dicier questions like, What’ll happen if I tell my uncle that his political social media posts are offensive? But then once the holiday dinner is finished, most Americans ask themselves this question, too: Am I going shopping?

For millions of Americans, the question of whether to shop for Black Friday deals—which in recent years has begun as soon as Thanksgiving night and extends through the weekend—is a resounding yes. A joint survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics found that 51 million people shopped in stores over the five-day weekend last year, while 58 million filled up their carts online. For Black Friday alone, retailers made about $8 billion in profits.

When shoppers make the decision to finish up their holiday cheer and get on with shopping, retailers rejoice. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), about 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales take place between November and December, and the average amount of money a person has spent over the holidays in the last 10 years is about $740 per year.

But even if shoppers can make the decision to shop on Thanksgiving, plenty of companies are deciding whether or not they should. News scenes of people crowding a store’s entrance, and perhaps getting hurt in the process, can tarnish a brand’s image. And businesses who open on Thanksgiving are going against the nearly 60 percent of Americans who feel like they should remain shut so that workers can enjoy the holiday. In other words, companies open their doors at a potential cost to their reputations.

Like we said, the pros-and-cons of Thanksgiving debates are complicated, even with something as mundane as shopping. But if you’re the type of person who sees more downsides to Thanksgiving shopping than perks, you’re not alone—many companies have decided to forego these early Black Friday sales to focus on a more positive work environment. REI is a famous proponent of this trend, and has closed its 150 stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday (including online) since 2015 with its #OptOutside campaign.

At Swell, we think that how you spend your money reflects who you are and what you believe in. That sentiment relates to your investment portfolios, and it can also reflect your Thanksgiving shopping. If you don’t believe that stores should be open on Thanksgiving, then support those that remain closed and encourage more brands to do the same. REI is just one of about 60 stores that will stay closed on Thanksgiving, according to a list gathered by Here are the others:

A.C. Moore
Abt Electronics
Academy Sports + Outdoors
Acme Tools
Allen Edmonds
American Girl
At Home
AT&T (company-owned stores)
Big 5 Sporting Goods
BJ's Wholesale Club
Blain's Farm & Fleet
Bob's Discount Furniture
Christopher & Banks
Cost Plus World Market
Craft Warehouse
Crate and Barrel
Dressbarn (majority of stores)
Fleet Farm
Gardner-White Furniture
Guitar Center
Half Price Books
Harbor Freight Tools
Hobby Lobby
Home Depot
JoAnn Stores
Mattress Firm
Music & Arts
Nordstrom Rack
P.C. Richard & Son
Pep Boys
Pier 1 Imports
Raymour & Flanigan Furniture and Mattresses
Sam's Club
Sierra Trading Post
Sportsman's Warehouse
Sprint (retail stores closed unless mall dictates otherwise; mall kiosks may open)
Stein Mart
Sur La Table
The Container Store
TJ Maxx
Tractor Supply Co.
Von Maur
West Marine

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