Last year, several giant retailers opened on Black Friday even earlier than usual, with several stores opening at midnight and cutting into workers’ Thanksgiving celebrations. That hasn’t stopped this year.
So far, Walmart, Sears, and Toys “R” Us aren’t even waiting for the day after Thanksgiving and will open at 8 p.m. Thursday. Target will open its doors at 9 p.m., and Macy’s and Best Buy will start their Black Friday deals at midnight.
But retail employees and their families are protesting the earlier hours and steady invasion on their time with their families. About 40 petitions have popped up on Change.org targeting the earlier openings at Walmart, Best Buy, Sears, Target, and Toys “R” Us, including one from a Target employee’s sister:
Jennifer Ann, 26, started the petition so that her younger brother, a part-time Target employee, can spend Thanksgiving with the family. She asked that her last name not be published to protect her brother’s employment with the retailer.
“Last year he had to leave early, and this year he won’t be able to make it at all,” she said. Her brother, who has worked at Target for a handful of years, is a full-time student. Jennifer Ann said her brother enjoys his job and has no plans to leave Target. [...]
“I just hope next year this doesn’t occur. I hope retailers take a look at this,” Jennifer Ann said. “Every year this gets worst. People want to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Next year, I hope they revert to the way things were when Black Friday was on Friday.“
A spokesman for Sears said customers are asking for “more flexible Black Friday shopping hours,” leading to its earlier hours, and Target’s spokeswoman said the earlier opening was “carefully evaluated with our guests, team and the business in mind.” But Renee, a Target employee, started a petition asking the store to “save Thanksgiving” because the holiday is one of only three days retail employees get off each year, “a day most all of us spend with family we only get to see on that day,” she wrote. More than 180,000 people have signed her petition on Change.org.
Last year, Anthony Hardwick, another Target employee, started a petition challenging the long hours employees had to work when the store opened at midnight. Tens of thousands of people signed his petition, but the stores are still opening even earlier this year. Hardwick, who no longer works at Target, called the creeping of Black Friday into Thanksgiving “ridiculous.” He said, “We’re getting rid of Thanksgiving dinner, and for what? For a $300 flat-screen TV?”