For the last few weeks, Jeanne and I have been struggling with our post-Thanksgiving plans…namely, whether or not to open for business as usual on that Friday and Saturday immediately after the holiday.
Last year, we a) barely survived the holiday, and b) had already committed to opening from 9 until 1 on both Friday and Saturday. That Friday morning found us tired, sore, and a little surly after days of no sleep and a baking list of 1700 pies. We baked the bare minimum to open the store and swore that if we survived the two days, we would vow to always close for the weekend immediately after the holiday.
And then 10 months passed and the reality of Thanksgiving 2k15 started to fade into history. We started discussing it and looking at sales numbers from those two days and ended up on the fence. Yes, it had been difficult…but we had good numbers for just those few hours each day and who are we to walk away from that? Can a small business ever really walk away from revenue opportunity?
Maybe you’ve heard by now that the retail giant REI has stunned everyone by choosing to close all 143 retail locations on Black Friday this year, despite it being one of their biggest sales days of the year. Rather, they are encouraging their employees – and paying them – to spend time together outside (even adding the clever hashtag #OptOutside). Completely over the frenzied commercialism of cutthroat competitive shopping, REI simply decided it wasn’t what was best for the culture of their company. So REI just decided it wouldn’t participate any longer, despite the massive cost to the company.
That decision took some serious guts, no? I’d like to be friends with whomever signed off on the final paperwork to put #OptOutside into motion, as I suspicion I could learn a thing or two from him or her.
REI’s bold move made me stop for a minute and think about PJP Buttonwood. The days immediately preceding Thanksgiving are completely insane. We won’t go home (or likely sleep) for the three days immediately prior to the actual holiday. We will live on coffee and Mountain Dew Kickstart (keeping it classy, yo). We will actually stock clean PJP t-shirts in the store so that we aren’t covered in butter splatters for 72 hours. Which is all to say that after we survive those three days, home is going to feel tremendously great.
So if working on Friday makes us tired, sore, and surly…and away from home and our families again to make money for a few hours each day, is it really worth that price? After reading about REI’s bold move, I’m going to have to say that it isn’t. Chasing a few hours of retail sales isn’t worth the cost, despite whatever our overly commercial culture would have us believe.
Here is the official statement: PJP will be closed Friday, November 27th and Saturday, November 28th so that we can be with our families. I can’t use #OptOutside because, well, I don’t even like outside that much. But I can use #OptForTheCouchAndNetflix. Sounds like a beautiful plan.