Embedded in this public Thanksgiving love letter written by "P.C. Richard" (and his son) to their 2,700 employees is a nasty little note to retailers open on Thanksgiving Day:
"It is our opinion that retailers who choose to open on Thanksgiving Day show no respect to their employees and families, and are in total disrespect of family values in the United States of America."
(You can see a close up of the full page ad by clicking on it).
As early as 1991, K-mart opened its doors on Thanksgiving--the first major retailer to do so. But the struggling retailer became more aggressive with its Turkey Day advertising about 5 years ago, clearly unable to wrestle the hearts and wallets of Black Friday shoppers from the likes of Best Buy, Toys R Us, Walmart, Macy's or basically anyone. K-mart wanted to claim Thanksgiving Day for itself.
Eight and a half trillion dollars of bailout money later, more and more companies are opening their doors and preventing their employees from eating vast amounts of candied yams and gravy.
In an always-on, ever-available world, the last few pillars of respite from commerce are crumbling. I'm all for keeping Thanksgiving and Christmas Day closed for brick and mortar retailers. I mean, can't you live without a dazzling crystal keychain, etched with a photo of your favorite person or pet for just a single day?
But PC Richard needs to stop whining. This "guiding light" for retail ethics of the United States of America wants other retailers to stop disrespecting their employees and families. Yet what's problematic about its stance is how it celebrates American veterans: with MASSIVE BLOWOUT SALES, STOREWIDE SAVINGS, and ZERO PERCENT INTEREST ON ALL BBQS AND AIRCONDITIONERS.
So PC Richard, while you're pondering whether or not it's a good idea to publish a full-page ad chiding the practices of your fellow discount retailers, how about closing shop on the upcoming Martin Luther King Day, to show respect for a true American hero? Though I guess, in retailing, nothing says respect like offering 12 months no interest on HDTVs.
In the meantime, I think I'll head over to B&H Photo, with Chick-Fil-a sandwich in hand, companies that actually live by their code, not just rant about it. Unfortunately, their hours of operation will probably prevent me from doing so.