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Retail Employees Demand Change in Black Friday Hours

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The term Black Friday is used to describe the day after Thanksgiving, where retailers offer massive discounts to entice shoppers to kickstart their holiday season spending.
But these days, you could call it Black Thursday, perhaps. Facing increasing tough online competition, brick-and-mortar stores like Target and Best Buy have been locked into an arms race of ever-earlier opening hours in a bid to be that proverbial early bird that catches the worm. Walmart, for example, is opening at 10pm on Thursdays, with Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Best Buy opening their stores to bargain hunters at the stroke of midnight.
We’ve written about how some consumers have voiced their concerns about Black Friday cutting more and more into time spent with families on Thanksgiving Day itself. The Occupy movement is also urging Americans to boycott Black Friday as a show of the 99%’s economic power. Now, the American Prospect reports that employees, too, are fed up with having to sacrifice their holiday. Anthony Hardwick, a Target employee in Omaha, started a petition after learning that he had to show up at work at 11pm on Thanksgiving Day.
“There was a sense of inevitability about the whole thing,” Hardwick said. “Initially, I thought I’d like to start a petition to give to corporate to show how many team members and customers are against this.”

Hardwick argued that all hourly and salaried employees scheduled to work would have to hit the sack by 1 or 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving in order to make it through the 10-hour overnight shift, effectively robbing them of the holiday. From a petition Hardwick posted on the Web site,
A full holiday with family is not just for the elite of this nation — all Americans should be able to break bread with loved ones and get a good night’s rest on Thanksgiving!
Hardwick's petition has sparked off hundreds of similar ones from employees at Best Buy, K-Mart and Toys 'R' Us, reports the Prospect.

Another Target employee, Seth Coleman, delivered his own petition containing 200,000 signatures to his employer in Minnesota requesting for Black Friday opening hours to be rolled back to 5am.
A Target spokesperson defended the store’s early opening policy, saying, "The decision to open at midnight on Black Friday was not one we took lightly," she said. "Our guests have expressed that they would prefer to kick off their holiday shopping experience right after the holiday celebrations, rather than getting up in the middle of the night."
For shoppers who want to enjoy their turkey dinner only after the sun has set on Thursday, there’s always Nordstrom. The retailer, as we’ve reported, has bucked the trend and will start its sales only on Black Friday itself. 

(See also: Surprise! Shoppers Don't Want Black Friday To Start on ThursdayNordstrom Waits Alone for the Holidays and Occupy Movement Set to Take on Black Friday)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.