The Changing Nature Of Thanksgiving Shopping, Wisconsin Life: Passenger Pigeons, Seasonal Affective Disorder For Those Who Love Winter

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Every year, stores seem to open earlier and earlier for post-Thanksgiving shopping, with some stores opening on Thanksgiving Day this year. A retail expert discusses the changing nature of the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Then we learn about passenger pigeons in Wisconsin Life and discuss the small minority of people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder as loving winter and hating summer.

Featured in this Show

  • Retailers To Open For Black Friday Even Earlier Than Last Year

    The busiest shopping weekend of the year is almost here — and with it comes the usual mix of excitement and outrage.

    One reason emotions are running high is that stores are opening even earlier than last year. While some outlying retailers are opening as early as 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving, the majority of stores are opening in the 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. range.

    According to John Talbott, the associate director of the Center for Education and Research in Retailing at Indiana University, customers only have ourselves to blame.

    “People are voting with their feet, or with their wallets, and they’re telling stores to be open,” said Talbott. “Stores try to do their best to make customers happy, and if customers tell them through the spending that they create that they want them to be open earlier, they’ll do it.”

    Despite the opening-time creep, Talbott thinks we’re hitting a slowdown: He doesn’t expect all-day shopping on Thanksgiving in the coming years.

    “I think that retailers recognize that there’s a fine line, and they don’t want to cross it,” he said.

    While Black Friday itself remains largest shopping day of the year, retailers are trying to spread the excitement over the entire weekend.

    “The term Black Friday, meaning a single-day event, is not true anymore,” Talbott said. “Most retailers are thinking about this as at least a four-day event.”

    That said, if people do brave the Thanksgiving sales, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually getting the best deals. Talbott suggested that perhaps waiting a few weeks might be a better option.

    “As you get closer to the end of the shopping season, there’s a probability that the season’s not going as well as stores might have liked — that you’ll see the best deals come later if you can wait and if you’re not set on a very specific item,” Talbott said.

    For online shoppers, Talbott suggested checking out the websites of major retailers on Black Friday, as many of the deals, or comparable ones, will also be offered there.

    “Today, there’s more of an integrated approach by retailers of having both online and offline capabilities to interact with customers,” he said.

    He also pointed to Cyber Monday, which should see aggressive promotions and sales.

    “Cyber Monday is still the biggest online shopping day of the year,” Talbott said. “Retailers are up against a big day from last year, and so they’re actively trying to make sure that they get the same or higher level of performance this year.”

  • Grey Thursday, Black Friday, And The Changing Nature Of Thanksgiving Shopping

    With each year, stores seem to be opening earlier and earlier for the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, with many stores now opening around dinner time on Thanksgiving Day. Are we on a path to all-day shopping on Thanksgiving, and does that mean the end of Black Friday? A retail expert talks about the changing nature of the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

  • A Version Of Seasonal Affective Disorder For Those Who Love Winter

    A lot of people experience mild depression and fatigue during the winter as part of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But there are some people who have a different kind of SAD–they’re sluggish in the summer and happy during the winter. A journalist discusses the small minority of people who draw energy from the winter.

Episode Credits

  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • John Talbott Guest
  • Sue Shellenbarger Guest