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Folks go elfin’ wild over Thanksgiving Day newspaper

By Mark Saal, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Nov 27, 2016

So, how was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Did you reconnect with family? Have a nice feast? Watch a little football?

And did you at least get to list “sleeping in” among the things you were grateful for on your Thanksgiving holiday?

I didn’t.

My Thanksgiving started to the sound of the Standard-Examiner’s phone-book-sized newspaper being tossed onto our driveway at precisely 6:33 a.m. Thursday morning. I know the paper arrived at 6:33 a.m., because the percussive shock wave from several pounds of newspaper smacking concrete woke me just long enough to glance over at the clock and think, “Who on earth would be doing demolition work on their driveway at 6:33 in the a.m.?”

RELATED: Is Thanksgiving being gobbled up by the annual Hastening of the Holidays?

I never had a paper route as a kid. But I’ve always felt sorry for those young newspaper carriers who have to schlep around the huge bundle of news and advertisements in the typical Thanksgiving Day edition. I feel even worse for those dogs that have been trained by their masters to fetch the newspaper. The Turkey Day paper has got to be a good way for a canine to dislocate a jaw.

Admittedly, these days the Thanksgiving newspaper isn’t the massive forest-killing monsters that were produced back in, say, the 1980s. But the fourth-Thursday-in-November paper is still pretty darned beefy — especially in this digital day and age.

Perusing the advertisements inserted in this yearly issue is still a favorite pastime for many. I know this because on our way to Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s house we stopped at a Maverik in Farmington, and the three large display stacks once filled with the Standard-Examiner were completely sold out before noon.

RELATED: Black Friday: A special day for the commercially insane

After spending a good hour with Thursday’s newspaper advertisements, I’m left with a few general impressions:

• One of the more interesting doorbuster sale items was offered by Toys “Backwards R” Us. It’s something called a Wild Thing by Power Wheels, and near as I can tell it looks like one of those Jazzy powered wheelchairs — except it’s for kids, so it’s sort of like a “Junior Jazzy.” Rumored to be in development for next Christmas: the Power Wheels toy version of a stair lift, so when you send your kid upstairs to his room he can ride in style, comfort and safety.

• C’mon, JCPenney. I’m pretty sure at some point you gotta stop calling them “Black Friday deals” when in the very same sentence your advertisement reads “Doors open at 3 p.m. Thursday.”

• The Daisy 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun Fun Kit, available for $29.99 at Smith and Edwards’ Black Friday sale, includes 750 BBs, targets, and “safety glasses.” That last item is in case the grownups in your life worry you’ll shoot your eye out.

Petco offered a unique free-with-purchase doorbuster gift on Black Friday — the “DreamWorks Trolls Pet Fans Collection Headwear for Dogs or Cats.” That’s right, you can totally embarrass your pet by giving it a toupee that looks like a cross between the two Dons (Don King and Don Trump).

And finally …

In scanning the newspaper ads, we find that starting times for local Black Friday sales varied wildly. Some retail companies refused to succumb to the temptation to open on Thanksgiving Day, thus giving their employees the holiday off. The majority of those stores opened sometime between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. the next day, Friday.

A number of other stores, justifying their actions by figuring most Thanksgiving celebrations were over by early evening, fudged a little and opened at either 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. on Thursday. Shopko cheated with a 4 p.m. opening, and JCPenney opted for 3 p.m.

The most reasonable starting time for Black Friday sales? A little place called Real Deals on Home Decor, in Farr West, which advertised its “Day After Thanksgiving Sale” opening at a respectable 10 a.m. on Friday. I like that. Take Thursday off, sleep in Friday, then start your shopping sometime mid-morning. It’s how civilized people shop for the holidays.

Ah, but Kmart takes the prize for getting an early start on this growing Black Friday madness. This year, the big-box retailer playfully invited shoppers to “Go elfin’ wild!” — which, apparently, is the company’s ill-advised, vaguely double entendre 2016 holiday slogan.

And part of getting all elfed up was an invitation to Kmart customers to “Shop early!” — which the company defined as “6 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Morning Doorbusters.”

So let me get this straight: Kmart’s Black Friday plan was basically to stay open all day on Thursday, thus forcing employees to give up their Thanksgiving, all so customers could “go elfin’ wild” with their holiday purchases?

Huh. Guess Kmart management opted to tell its employees to go elf themselves.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.


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