Let’s get right to the heart of the matter…
Greed is good – within reason. Face it, it’s the American Way. Without avarice – and its partner-in-crime marketing – we’d still be chiseling football scores onto cave walls. Flabby dudes would be stuck wearing loincloths at the beach instead of Speedos. And McRib would be the part of the Saber Tooth Tiger everyone threw away.
Which brings us to the Midnight Madness inflicted on KC consumers Thanksgiving night.
The mall and store openings born to a marraige of hype and tripe, greed versus need. Think about it. From a retailing standpoint, what’s the difference between dragging folks out of bed for a 6 a.m. sale the Friday after Thanksgiving and convincing them to bail on their families six hours earlier in the middle of the holiday?
For what? To do battle over a handful of cheap ass LCD television "doorbusters"?
Allow me to address the subject.
From a standpoint of sales, people are gonna spend what they’re gonna spend. So tradition busting likely yields very little, if anything, to retailer’s bottom lines. The flip side of which is for many locals – workers and shoppers – it was a dagger in the back of one of Amerca’s greatest holidays.
Instead of hanging at home chowing on Big Bird, watching football, catching a holiday movie, the Plaza Lights or even reflecting on the concept of being thankful, thousands of locals passed their holiday afternoon and evening shivering in ridiculously long lines at area parking lots.
Take soon-to-graduate K-State student Joel Grogan…
Grogan was one of the first into the Mission Target when it opened at midnight and the first to make it out alive with a $298, 46-inch Westinghouse LCD TV in tow.
"I saved $251," Grogan says. "I got here at 6 p.m."
And with a fat, chocked-full-of-ads Thanksgiving Day newspaper to celebrate, the Kansas City Star couldn’t wait to suck up to advertisers today with a front-page headline shouting, "Buyers Plunge Into Season."
On and on it went, rehashing widely reported details like that 152 million people nationwide were expected to shop on Black Friday, up 10 percent from last year. While kissing up advertisers like to Zona Rosa by assigning a reporter – presumeably Joyce Smith whose byline adorned the story – to shadow a woman who won a three-hour, $1,000 gift card gift card shopping spree that had to be completed that night.
Blow-by-tedious blow, Smith documented the woman’s shop-a-thon in no less that 10 painfully-long, individually headlined graphs. As if she was documenting the 12 Labors of Hercules. At 12:20 a.m. the chick got the gift card. "I’m shaking," she said. She hit the Gap at 12:35 a.m. Tried to go to Dillard’s at 1:25 a.m. but it was closed.
From Ann Taylor to Victoria’s Secret, Dick’s and Old Navy – no advertiser went un-jerked.
Mercifully, the gift card money (and Smith’s ink) ran out at 2:43 a.m. Maybe they’ll show a clip of it at halftime during Sunday night’s Chiefs game.
The story continues with perfunctory – dry as a bone – tales of what went down at other Star advertiser’s malls. The Legends, Independence Center and Oak Park.
For example, the lots were full by 10 p.m. at Legends and many of its stores offered discounts. Imagine that.
Some chick named Avondale (that a girl’s name?) hit Independence Center around 2:30 a.m. looking for some jewelry bargains and and another said that Wal Mart was crowded. Riveting.
And my pal Kevin Collison (that was you, wasn’t it, dude?) hopped out of bed Friday and rolled out to Oak Park Mall at 9 a.m. to let readers know it was busy "with most shoppers carrying shopping bags." I’ll bet most of em had shoes on too, but Kevin left that part out.
Collison did serve as the voice of reason in Smith’s story, even though his two-liner got stuck at the back of the bus where few may have seen it. In a quote by some chick from Paola who didn’t make it out the night before because she said it was "ridculous" and "I wanted to be with our family."
Way to risk pissing off the advertisers, big guy.