I'll admit it: I went out at about 5:30 on Thanksgiving Day to grab one specific item from one specific store.
I was also "shopping" throughout Thanksgiving Day and in the days prior on Amazon, which has basically turned the traditional "Cyber Monday" online deals into a "Black Friday week".
And in years past, stores weren't usually open on Thanksgiving. Some may have opened at 10pm or 11pm, but most either did midnight openings and did morning sales on Friday as well.
And in years past, I often went out at 11pm, grabbed a Steak N Shake, and went to a nearby Meijer for midnight sales. I was very careful never to go for the cheap TVs or Blu-Ray players or whatever. I knew what I wanted, and I never spent more than half an hour in the store.
There was no Steak-N-Shake this year, because I didn't go to Meijer, but I went to another store.
A store that is more notorious for having some of the worst Black Friday experiences out there.
A store that, in at least one instance, had a worker trampled by a mob of people. That worker died at a hospital earlier this morning. Several other workers were also treated that day for non-life threatening injuries.
But I didn't have that experience.
In fact, in the several midnight sales I've attended, I've never had that experience.
Everyone was very calm and orderly.
In years past, the Meijer stores are so big, they just put the big deals at stations throughout the store.
Wal-Mart is a bit more cramped, but they did a similar thing.
Kids were playing on their video game consoles or phones. Parents were chatting. I had a book with me, and there were some taking in the sights.
I have to give credit where credit is due: There was a lot more hired security, and at least a handful of Marion County Sheriff's Deputies and IMPD officers throughout the Wal-Mart as well.
Some people might've gotten a bit claustrophobic but that might be the worst experience.
Hats off to the public safety officials locally, and the retail workers, for what has been a safe shopping experience. I'm very glad that our state is showing that it can be done safely, with no one getting hurt.
I know some out there really believe that Thanksgiving should be a day off. But I think it really hasn't been a day off for a lot of people for a long time. There were two or three NFL games on yesterday, and that required a lot of people to be working. Hotels, gas stations, airports, and many other essential services practically have to stay open.
I, as a former hotel worker, understand that some workers like working holidays due to the overtime pay. But I also know that in some cases, especially wit temp agencies, the "choice" to work isn't so much of a choice.
But if a store is being run by ethical people, that there is additional preparations made in terms of staffing and security, and maybe giving the opportunity for some staff to have the day off, I have no qualms about stores opening on Thursday night.
Stay safe out there, and remember, there's always Amazon.