Shopping on Thanksgiving? Think again.

November 26, 2013 11:00 AM

Carol Schlueter

It’s the shortest holiday shopping season in 11 years, just 26 days compared to 32 last year. Some jittery retailers have responded by pushing Black Friday sales into shopping hours on Thanksgiving Day. If all the onslaught of media ads and sales pressure is getting on your nerves, listen to this Thanksgiving reminder from Harish Sujan of the A. B. Freeman School of Business.

Shopping ads

Internet, newspaper, television and radio ads for Christmas holiday sales began earlier than ever this year. (Photo from Getty Images)

“We set aside a day in this culture where instead of shopping, instead of taking, we feel grateful for what we’ve already taken,” Sujan says. Would-be shoppers should consider staying home on Thursday (Nov. 28) because “keeping people close matters greatly,” he says.

A professor who holds the A. B. Freeman Chair in Business, Sujan specializes in marketing and has a background in social and motivational psychology.

Research into positive psychology and human happiness points to two important factors, he says — connections with other people and being grateful for what you have.

“These two things get compromised by moving Black Friday to Thursday,” Sujan says. Retailers “aren’t giving people happiness, even though they’re giving them deals.”

But that hasn’t stopped this year’s spread of stores open on turkey day. Some large retailers have announced plans to open on Thursday and won’t close until Friday night (Nov. 29), including Toys “R” Us (opening at 5 p.m. Thursday), Walmart (6 p.m. Thursday), Kmart (7 p.m. Thursday) and Target (8 p.m. Thursday).

Cutting short a family Thanksgiving celebration to head to the stores is the equivalent of saying, “I want to get my gratefulness taken care of quickly so I can have time to get back to taking,” he says.

There will still be plenty of time and plenty of deals later for eager shoppers, Sujan says, so for Thursday, “I hope they stay home.”

There’s always Cyber Monday.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu