It seems like there’s no stopping consumerism from creeping deeper and deeper into Thanksgiving. Even as many Americans voiced their annoyance that stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year, at least one mall is pushing further into family time by opening doors at 6 p.m. on Turkey Day to kick off “29 hours of continuous Black Friday specials and promotions.”
For the Dolphin Mall in Miami, Fla., an opening time of 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night just doesn’t deliver enough shopping opportunities. The Miami Herald reported that the mall, which is the largest shopping center in Miami-Dade County and features more than 240 retailers, will start welcoming the crowds in on Thanksgiving day while the turkey is probably still warm—at 6 p.m., before many homes have even finished up dessert.
What’s more, Dolphin Mall stores are expected to remain open continuously until 11 p.m. the next day, Friday, Nov. 29, a.k.a. Black Friday. The mall is pumping up this shopping gorge-a-thon as “29 hours of continuous Black Friday specials and promotions,” and it unsurprisingly is the mall’s longest span ever for Black Friday/Thursday hours.
The encroachment of Black Friday into Thanksgiving Thursday has been a trend years in the making. Last year, Toys R Us, Walmart, and Target were among the retailers launching Black Friday specials starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. They are being joined this year by Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and assorted malls around the country that have decided to push Black Friday back into what’s traditionally a relaxed, quiet Thanksgiving evening.
As more retailers and shopping centers have jumped on board, the “Black Thursday” trend has snowballed, with Florida’s Dolphin Mall pushing the envelope furthest (so far). How quickly has this trend taken off? Well, in 2010, the Dolphin Mall was bragging that it “will open its doors a lot earlier this year for Black Friday” by starting the shop-palooza at midnight on Thanksgiving evening. In 2011, the Dolphin Mall moved the opening time back to 9 p.m. for a “Magical Night of Shopping,” as well as “25 hours of continuous shopping and specials.” And this year, of course, it’s a 6 p.m. opening and a mind-numbing 29 consecutive hours of shopping.
By comparison, the Thanksgiving-Black Friday plans for New Jersey’s Rockaway Townsquare mall—which has been receiving grief for staying open 26 hours in a row starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving—almost seem reasonable.