For the average consumer, Christmas Creep is little more than an annoyance: While you may find it tiresome to see Christmas commercials and sales in September, you can always opt out of the madness and shop at your own pace. But if you're a retail employee, you have less say in the matter.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%But the complaints largely fell on deaf ears, and now the Consumerist has turned up evidence that Macy's (M) will be getting in on the early bird action this year after opening at midnight last year. A tipster working at an unidentified Macy's store passed along a poll given to employees asking if they would be willing to work on Thanksgiving at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 8 p.m.
It's good that the retailer is at least asking for feedback from employees, but it's not clear how much choice they'll have in the matter. The poll was phrased in a way that implied that an 8 p.m. opening was already a done deal, so it stands to reason that some employees will be pressed into service if there aren't enough volunteers. Indeed, upon answering the question, employees were given the following message:
We will do our best to honor your preferences. Based on the needs of the business we may still need you to work an opening shift. Please be sure to review your schedule for any assigned shifts.
That's about what we expected. Last year Casey St. Clair, the Target employee behind the popular Change.org petition, told us that Thanksgiving was listed as a "blackout date" that employees couldn't request, and we're guessing that other retailers will have similar policies. And while this particular employee won't have to come in until 7:30 p.m., many Macy's employees will have set-up duties that require them to come in much earlier.
Maybe enough Macy's employees will say no to Thanksgiving shifts that the company will reverse course, but we're skeptical. Consumerist's tipster predicted that Thanksgiving shifts will become the norm in the near future, and we're inclined to agree -- at this point, enough retailers are opening on Thanksgiving that any store staying closed that night will be leaving money on the table. And unfortunately for retail employees, shopping on Thanksgiving does make sense for many shoppers: The early opening allows them to get to bed earlier than they would if doors didn't open until midnight, and there are actually excellent deals to be had on Thanksgiving.
So if you're one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans hoping to be hired as a seasonal retail employee, take heed: Working on Thanksgiving might be part of the package.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.
7 Hot Toys Predictions for the 2013 Holiday Season
Macy's Is Asking Employees If They Can Work on Thanksgiving: Report
Elmo was popular when I was a kid. He was popular in the mid-90s, when America went insane over Tickle Me Elmo dolls. And with the toy appearing on all three lists, it looks like he'll be popular this year, too.
Centuries from now, when humanity has migrated to the stars, we'll still give our kids Elmo dolls for Space Chanukah.
Here's another ghost of Christmas shopping past. Kmart and Walmart are both bullish on the latest Furby, which according to the product description "has a mind of its own." It goes on to say that "the way you treat your Furby will shape its personality." Incidentally, you could also describe children this way. Expect to pay around $60 for this one.
Doc McStuffins follows the adventures of a veterinarian who operates on stuffed animals, and the dolls and play centers promise to be popular again this year. All three retailers have this playset on their lists, though it should be noted that Toys R Us exclusively has the "Deluxe" version of the kit pictured here. The Deluxe set has 14 bonus pieces, including a fetching pink labcoat. Note that the Deluxe costs $79.99, versus $64.50 for the standard set at Walmart.
Toys R Us is building tablet mini-shops in its stores, so clearly it expects kid's tablets to be a big market this season. Both Toys R Us and Kmart have the LeapFrog on their lists this year.
The tablets cost $150 and is durable enough to withstand drops, though it's not waterproof. So if your kid is prone to pitching toys into the toilet, steer clear of this one.
The Ninja Turtles are going to be big this year. At Kmart you can find this remote-control "Shellraiser" vehicle, which shoots sewer covers and costs around $45. At Walmart there's the Secret Sewer Lair playset, which costs $80. And at its holiday preview event last week, Toys R Us had classic Ninja Turtles figures and their "party wagon" on display.
Basically, you can't go wrong with Ninja Turtles. (Which, incidentally, is what I tell my parents every year when they ask what I want for Chanukah.)
Both Kmart and Walmart list this one, so it looks to be this season's hot Nerf gun. As the coloring and name make clear, it's a toy weapon being marketed to girls, a rare move for Nerf. We're thinking the popularity of archery-centric movies with teen girl protagonists like "The Hunger Games" and "Brave" account for Nerf's sudden interest in selling to the female market.
We don't recall Princess Merida or Katniss Everdeen using a hot-pink-and-purple bow, but hey, that's toy marketing for you. This one will cost $15.99 at Walmart.
Unlike other fairy dolls, this one actually flies. It must be a real fairy!
No, just kidding, it's just a toy. Get it for $30 at Walmart. It takes six AA batteries, which aren't included.