Never mind the traditional meal of roast turkey with family and friends on Thursday. For some, Thanksgiving Day marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season.
Although some have called it the decline of an American tradition, consumers looking for the best bargains say they can’t wait to go shopping.
Some people who have to work during the holiday see it as an opportunity to earn extra cash, but many others aren't happy about not being able to observe the occasion with loved ones.
Kmart employee Donna Fisher was told she has to work or face the consequences — and she says that’s unfair.
“There’s no choice in it whatsoever," she said. "It breaks my heart, it really does — to see this is all about the money, it’s not about Thanksgiving.”
So her daughter Jillian launched an online petition demanding that Kmart allow its employees time off on Thanksgiving day so they can be with their families. Thousands have signed the petition.
The days ahead of Christmas and Thanksgiving are among the busiest travel days for Americans. While retailers insist the early start to the shopping season will make it more convenient for customers, others argue that the large crowds and the hype are not worth the savings.
The Consumer Federation of America’s Stephen Brobeck believes the holiday marketing onslaught should begin after Thanksgiving.
“I don’t know whether most Americans are concerned, but I am personally, in part because I don’t feel as if I have an adequate opportunity to count my blessings at Thanksgiving," he said.
Those buying gifts are expected to spend more than $600 billion during the holiday season, or about 4 percent more than they did last year. Kmart is just one of a long list of stores trying to get a bigger share of consumer dollars. Macy’s Department Store plans to open Thanksgiving Day, as will retail giant Walmart.