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Hometown Wednesday shopping concept deserves consideration

It seemed like there was non-stop chatter in 2019 about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, lots of discussion about the huge impact those dates have begun to have on holiday shopping.

It was backed up by numbers. Statistics announced immediately afterward pointed to record-level retail activity.

Large mega-stores go about as far as what’s considered appropriate for when to start the yearly shopping season later in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. I’ve read that some countries in the world, including France and Italy, actually aren’t all that sold on the Black Friday concept. It even generated a few protesters in 2019.

That’s not necessarily “socialism,” at least not in the simple context that’s used in the 21st century among those who favor a different approach.

Instead it’s more a question of how the world should define its priorities. It’s about how the “shopping for the holidays” spectaculars should relate to the overall observances of both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A good way to explore that idea is to start at the beginning, by asking when exactly does each holiday shopping season get started.

There’s no specific requirement for when it commences. I’ve even heard of situations when something bought for one particular Christmas ended up being a gift a year or two later.

When things extend that far in advance, there’s nothing official about it. People just think ahead. They take a practical approach that works out for the best.

The official holiday shopping kickoff has been the day after Thanksgiving for at least a generation. It’s one of the world’s most popular “floating holidays” since people want to extend Thanksgiving into a long weekend and often want to make progress with Christmas preparations.

So in recent years that’s given Black Friday its status. I’m not sure how the name took hold. It’s simple and to the point. Nobody has to worry about a fanciful term like extravaganza or an all-encompassing one like “world’s greatest.”

So Black Friday is just the ever-present Black Friday, which gives way after the weekend to all that’s available through world-wide cyber-connectivity. Small Business Saturday is slotted in the middle, which hopefully reflects how hard working innovative entrepreneurs have a valued role in the modern marketplace.

So is that the way the story is destined to end as far as the official kick-off? Maybe it might be. Then again maybe not.

What about making a slight change in the line-up? Why not move the official holiday shopping kick-off up to the day before Thanksgiving?

It could actually make sense. Part of the American Dream is to be ahead of the game, to stay well ahead of anything that starts to seem like a rat race. It might include being where we need to be a day before Thanksgiving and therefore having time for something extra like an enjoyable shopping day.

It might as well be called Hometown Wednesday, a day of good bargains for everyone and maybe especially for people who are valued, repeat customers.

That’s pure capitalism at its finest. Particular businesses and loyal clientele have helped each other greatly at least since cottage industries flourished in the late Middle Ages. It might be great to bring that whole idea back into the equation.

I searched “Hometown Wednesday” before writing this column. Nothing major came up, so I guess it’s a brand new idea. It might be good to encourage the world to focus some time and purchasing power on enterprises that keep the wheels turning on the local level, that help to give young people in local communities a successful start in life.

Another possibility is to just steer clear of trying to create a huge game-changer. Everybody is basically in charge of his or her own life. We can all think critically, make decisions for ourselves, and hopefully get what we want most out of life instead of feeling caught up in a whirlwind and hubbub.

It can seem at this time of year like it all leads up to Christmas Day. In a world of deadlines, Dec. 25 can loom large like an ultimate deadline – where there’s a dwindling number of days left.

In reality it’s still a matter of choice. There’s no better time of the year to focus on what matters.

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