Retailers could face a price for forcing staff to work on Thanksgiving Day, according to a new national poll. A University of Connecticut survey conducted in November found that 90 percent of polled Americans don’t plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day. About half of consumers, 49 percent, disapprove of the retailers that will open early, and another 46 percent prefer that the stores wait to open until Black Friday morning.
The good news for the stores that plan to stay closed to give their workers a real holiday is that 20 percent of respondents said they are less likely to take their business to places open on Thanksgiving. The vast majority, 74 percent, said it would not factor into where they shop.
Shoppers have also fueled their anger through online petitions that target specific stores. On the platform Change.org, there are more than 200,000 total signatures for 61 petitions asking stores to save Thanksgiving. According to Change.org communications manager Shareeza Bhola, more petitions this year target niche businesses like Staples and Medieval Times in addition to the big box retailers Target and Walmart.
Mall owner Simon Property Group has come under scrutiny of its own for feeding “Black Thursday” frenzy. Simon defended extending mall hours to ThinkProgress by citing “customers’ need for greater flexibility.” The needs of store employees is often the last consideration for large corporations. Workers may receive a turkey dinner and extra pay in exchange for their holidays, though Walmart manipulates even this consolation to shortchange staff.
As stores risk consumer backlash, there’s little evidence that extended Thanksgiving hours will boost holiday season sales.