The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year, with analysts expecting sales upwards of $10 billion on Friday alone.
Retailers have long sought to capitalize on the holiday traffic by deeply discounting the year’s top holiday gifts and opening their doors ever earlier — but in recent years, stores have gone a step further by intruding upon Thanksgiving Day itself.
Stores like Best Buy and Walmart are planning to open for shoppers on Thursday, pulling hundreds of thousands of seasonal and part-time workers away from their Thanksgiving dinner tables to instead break up fights and literally risk their lives in an attempt to maintain some form of civilization in store aisles.
For the last few years, ThinkProgress has sought to make it easier for shoppers who still want good deals to reward those stores which put their workers ahead of profits by keeping their doors closed on Thanksgiving (and punish those that don’t). This list is far from comprehensive, but we’ve tried to cover some of the largest retailers and every major retail category.
Most retailers make it very hard—if not impossible—to take time off during the 48 hours around Black Friday, meaning that employees are all but forced to abandon their Thanksgiving plans. Even if they are allowed to take the holiday off, hourly employees who are typically paid below a livable wage may feel compelled to take the extra hours to pay their own bills.
Retail workers aren’t the only ones who clock in on Thanksgiving. Starbucks will open many of its stores on Thursday to accommodate eager shoppers, as will most fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, which has in the past suggested their employees sell their Christmas presents to make up for their low wages.
And the negative impacts of opening on Thanksgiving are felt beyond just workers. Most stores reserve their best deals for those shoppers who are first in line when doors open, meaning that many of the underprivileged shoppers who most depend on these doorbuster deals for their holiday shopping are often the ones who line up in the cold for hours on Thanksgiving Day.
Among those stores staying closed on Thanksgiving, three in particular deserve support from progressive shoppers. Costco has been a leader in the retail industry when it comes to hourly wages for their workers, paying an average of $22 an hour. Patagonia has a longstanding commitment to ethically sourcing materials for their outerwear, and more recently began investing corporate resources in political battles over environmental issues. And for the second year in a row, outdoor goods store REI is going further than most national retailers this week, closing all of their stores on Black Friday as well as Thanksgiving and giving their employees a paid day off to spend outdoors instead.