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#PR: When 'No' Is a Good Thing
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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There are times when, in PR, saying the word “no” can be a good thing. However, it is also not a word we want to use too much around our clients, particularly when they think they have a great idea for a PR campaign to help launch their newest (and greatest) widget.

But that is not what this blog post is about.

A story recently appeared on social media about several stores that will close their doors on Thanksgiving. There are some big names on the list: Home Depot, Costco, Lowe’s, T. J. Maxx, GameStop, Pier 1, Barnes & Noble, Home Goods, Marshalls, Nordstrom, as well as Bed, Bath & Beyond. Apparently this started Thanksgiving 2014, with a few stores deciding to close on that day; it appears to be a movement that is growing in support. A spokesman for GameStop commented thus on the reason for this move: "At GameStop we often use the phrase “protect the family” in reference to our business. A large part of what that means to us is to not open any of our GameStop, SimplyMac, Spring Mobile, or Cricket Wireless U.S. locations on Thanksgiving Day out of respect for our store associates and their families and friends. We believe it’s the right decision not only for our employees, but also for our customers. Enjoy this time with your loved ones and we’ll see you on Black Friday."

Kudos to GameStop and its sister stores, as well as to all the others on the list, for respecting the needs for their employees to be with their families on that day. In this case, saying “no” to jumping the gun on Black Friday just to earn a few more bucks is a good thing in this blogger’s view.

“Black Friday” and the start of the Christmas holiday shopping season marks a time when many retailers can expect to see as much as half of their yearly revenue generated. In recent years, some stores have tried to be the first to open their doors for Black Friday events; some stores have even advertised they will open as early as 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving just to get a jump on sales. There was a comment on Facebook remarking that she could not imagine sales associates at Walmart “getting any time with their family since the sales are starting at 6. It's shameful that corporations are doing this to the people who keep them running, and what's worse is knowing the CEOs will be enjoying their family in their mansions while some who barely make livable wages will be missing out.”

I don’t know about you, but this blogger says, um, NO! to stores denying their employers or associates being able to spend the entire day with their families or loved ones. If you do that, you can expect me to not support you; I will say “No!” to shopping in your store on Black Friday.

Traditional brick-and-mortar retail chain stores will find they will do better all around with their staffs and their customers, both traditional and online (remember, Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving!), if they refuse to open on Thanksgiving. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costso, Marshalls, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and any other stores who will close for Thanksgiving deserve our support.

This is a case where saying “no” is indeed a good thing.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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