Target and Toys 'R Us opened their doors at 9pm on Thursday. Walmart's Black Friday sales began at 8pm. Edward S is thrilled because he and his wife celebrated her "Super Bowl of shopping" at a reasonable hour, which means he gets to play golf on Friday. Mike L is out on Thursday night shopping for a TV, but he's saddened that his kids are with the grandparents on Thanksgiving. And then there's your former Walmart employee using the Thursday-Black-Friday phenomenon to protest poor wages, benefits and working conditions.
On balance, the exit polls are suggesting that folks are pretty jazzed about not staying up all night to save a couple hundred bucks on a flat screen. I wonder how many of these enthusiastic opportunists have given thought to how all this retail activity is supporting jobs in China? While I suspect, if asked, many would voice a concern, I don't suspect that bringing it to their attention would save their VISAs a single swipe.
Ah, freedom -- it's a beautiful thing. The retailers' freedom to open their doors whenever they choose creates options for the Edward S's, and Mike L's of America. Edward gets to play a round of golf, and Mike's kids get more choices for fun with their well-rested Dad come Friday. As for the protesting former Walmart employee, well, he gets to complain awhile before he ventures out to explore better-paying options. Perhaps he has a knack for sales and can learn the golf business. Being that the Edward S's of the world will be hacking away on Friday -- some getting hooked on the sport, some hooking their drives -- both resulting in future equipment sales.
As for China, talk about your blessings! Can you imagine a world without the freedom to trade across borders? If so, you can imagine a world without affordable stuff. And a world without affordable stuff is a world with less stuff, and a world with less stuff is a world with fewer options, and a world with less stuff and fewer options is, well, just watch the following...