Stores Will Be Open Round the Clock, But I Won't Be Shopping

Stores Will Be Open Round the Clock, But I Won't Be Shopping

Were you the secret winner of the huge Mega-Millions lottery haul? If you need extra shopping time before Christmas,  many national stores are offering overnight and extended hours through the 25th. Online retailers are also putting on the dog for customers with a barrage of e-mail specials.

Brad Tuttle reports in Time:

“Desperate parents, Toys R Us has got you covered. The national toy store chain just announced that Toys R Us locations nationwide will be open 87 hours in a row, beginning at 6 a.m. this Saturday, Dec. 21, continuing on through Tuesday, Dec. 24, at 9 p.m.”

Tuttle adds that Kohl’s opens 6 a.m. Saturday, December 21, and won’t close until Christmas Eve at 6 p.m.  USA Today adds Macy’s, Nordstrom’s,  and Target  to the list.  That's four straight days of round the clock shopping. And many Wal-Marts, the nerve center of the last minute shopper, are open 24/7. The International Business Times provides this list of 930 merchants with free online shipping.

Nov. 24, 2011 - Columbia, SC, USA - People lined up outside Toys R Us Thanksgiving Day for their nighttime shopping deals in Columbia, South Carolina, Credit Image: © Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com

Is Ebenezer Scrooge managing retailers?

For the employees of these large retailers, extended hours may suck the holly jolly right out of their holidays.  What remains to be seen is if protests around Target and other large retailers at Thanksgiving will re-surface with this latest news. Many large retailers rely on part-time workers and holiday hires that may not have planned to work multiple days.

In college, my husband worked at a Burdine’s in Florida, and survived several holiday seasons. With his hulking hands, he was assigned the unlikely area of gift wrap. For regular employees trained to handle the onslaught of the holiday rush, the Christmas season can be exhausting and stressful.  Add to that a work-force of new hires, and you can practically see the Grinch Who Stole Christmas cackling.

What’s the reason behind extended hours?

The cynic in me believes it isn’t to provide Junior with that necessary Wii that Mom can’t pick up during the day because she’s caring for the seriously ill at the local hospital. The cynic in me believes it is business, purely and simply.

As early as November 14, the New York Times reported that Wal-Mart painted a gloomy picture for the holiday shopping season.

Christmas falls on December 25 every year, but retailers and shoppers may perceive the shopping season shorter with the Thanksgiving holiday falling later in the month, as it will on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

Retailers seem to be grasping at straws with last-minute details. My e-mail inbox   is chock full of deals from any online retailer I’ve ever used.  Why did I buy that bird feeder from Bass Pro Shops?  I’m not the outdoors type, but Barnes and Nobles also has me in its crosshairs.

Ever been to Wal-Mart at 3 a.m.?

Sorry, Mr. Tuttle from “Time” magazine, I’m not a desperate parent.  I’ve been (once) to Wal-Mart at 3 a.m., and I’m not going again.

Our grown son got a smart phone earlier in the year and we’re paying for his $711 last minute plane ticket home to the Midwest from the East Coast. Seriously, his stocking will only contain ten rolls of the Wild Cherry Lifesavers that he likes.

Gifts are purchased, packed, and ready for shipping to family across the country. Our family makes a holiday budget and sticks to it, a hold-over from 2009 when I lost my job. Extended family buys for all children under eighteen (there are five of them), and the adults hold a drawing with a cash limit. My husband and I no longer exchange gifts, but put holiday money toward travel for  the coming year.

For my friends with small children and grandchildren, the extended hours may enable them to get a last-minute gift. I suspect most have been shopping for weeks, and with our nomadic society, many are shipping Barbies and Legos to far-off locations.

I’m a Baby Boomer who grew up in a small town with blue laws that prohibited any Sunday shopping.  This 24/7 shopping world baffles me. We couldn’t even buy gasoline for the car on Sunday.

I’m certain there are “desperate parents” who will be in Wal-Mart in the scary middle of the night in the last days before Christmas. In our house, we’ll be fast asleep with visions of sugarplums dancing over our heads, no credit card debt, and UPS tracking receipts in our wallets.

Amy Abbott writes "The Raven Lunatic" column for multiple Indiana newspapers. She's the author of two books "The Luxury of Daydreams" and "A Piece of Her Mind."  Her third book, "A Piece of Her Heart" will be published in 2014.

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