Probably when it’s yesterday. More and more retailers are pushing up their opening time for Black Friday. Many large retailers are opening at midnight. A few are opening between 9pm and 10pm on Thanksgiving Thursday (Dark Purple Thursday?). While I understand the retailer’s trying to beat the Joneses, when does the event of Black Friday become just another sale (or sale-a-palooza or sale-a-bration)?
To me, the event of Black Friday was the allure. You planned your routes over warmish turkey sandwiches while watching the Lions lose (sorry Detroit). You weighed which doorbusters were most important. You created detailed battle plans as well as counter-measures to defeat the other shoppers. Once the time finally came, your whole family got up before the sun and drank coffee through bleary eyes. You bundled up and went out to put your shopping agenda in motion. The event, the hunt, was the fun part. The specific doorbuster was important to get everyone motivated, but the memory was my family working together, not the item. For the retailer, the sale of the doorbuster alone wasn't the end goal; it was getting your entire family ready to start holiday shopping, to spend time in their stores, and to BUY.
By pushing back the opening time so far, it is destroying the "event" attraction for shoppers. The thrill of the hunt, the commraderie of the family, the excitement of doing something different is not present when shopping at 9pm on Thursday. That’s just going shopping. If the doorbusters at 4am are gone too, there will be no reason to get up and go shopping then either. I’d rather let the tryptophan work its magic and wake up to another turkey sandwich.
What do you think? Is it the sale or the event? When is too early for you?