Holiday store hours anger employees, customers
With competition for consumer dollars tight, stores are starting their Black Friday sales earlier than ever -- but is that really what we want?
A number of stores have announced plans to start their "Black Friday" sales on Thanksgiving night, some as early as 8 p.m. -- but consumer reactions are mixed.
Some people are excited to get a head start on their shopping -- and to have an after-dinner activity other than watching football -- but others are outraged that a national holiday is being pre-empted by retail.
An online petition, started by a Target employee to protest the chain's midnight Thanksgiving opening, had almost 160,000 signatures as of 4:30 p.m. ET Thursday. Anthony Hardwick's Tell Target to Save Thanksgiving petition on Change.org has gotten national attention since it was posted a week ago.
"A midnight opening robs the hourly and in-store salary workers of time off with their families on Thanksgiving Day," Hardwick, of Omaha, Neb., wrote when he created the petition, noting that workers need to be in the store at least an hour before doors open. "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 found many sympathetic ears.
"I'm so tired of turning on the news the Monday after Black Friday and having to hear about how much money the big retailers did or didn't make. As if that's the point of our year-end holidays," wrote Deborah Swartz, explaining why she signed the petition.
"It's a national holiday not a national shopping day... maybe try giving thanks for your employees that bring you so much money," wrote another signer.
- More coverage:The holidays on MSN
A recent survey by ConsumerSearch.com found that of 1,003 people questioned, 87% believed retailers should not be open on Thanksgiving, according to USA Today.
Giving people what they want
But the stores say they are simply reacting to consumer demand. Post continues below.
Last week Brian Dunn, chief executive of Best Buy, told The New York Times that though he feels "terrible" about opening early, it was an "operating imperative" for the store.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the decision to open at midnight on Thanksgiving was based on consumer desires, USA Today reported. "We have heard from our guests that they want to shop Target following their Thanksgiving celebrations rather than only having the option of getting up in the middle of the night," she said.
"Merry Christmas! This is my favorite time of year. I get up at 4 a.m. to go shop the day after Thanksgiving. I rarely buy stuff but it is a tradition now and it's kinda fun," wrote one MSN Money reader, commenting on a post about What not to buy on Black Friday.
Some stores starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving:
- Wal-Mart: 10 p.m. (two hours earlier than last year)
- Toys R Us: 9 p.m. (an hour earlier than last year)
- Macy's: midnight
- Best Buy: midnight
- Kohl's: midnight
Support for the underdog
Hardwick said the holiday has sentimental value for him because he proposed to his girlfriend on Thanksgiving last year. The part-time employee said his manager had asked him to start his 10-hour shift at 11 p.m. next Thursday night, which meant he'd need to sleep through the holiday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hardwick is not scheduled to work Thanksgiving night or Black Friday, however, according to Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder.
In an interview with MarketWatch, Hardwick said he has been "absolutely blown away" by the response his petition has garnered. "I honestly thought that at least I'd be able to say that I tried to do something. And then to have it actually start to catch on and go viral … is just really amazing."
What's your take? Would you shop all day on Thanksgiving if the stores were open?
Total BS. What they are trying to do is beat the other retailers out of sales. In other words.... greed. Sheer logic tells you that if the demand exists, that demand will be intact if you wait until Friday morning to open your store. Are they trying to say that if someone wants to shop, they won't buy it unless they can do it on Thanksgiving Day? What a crock.
You couldn't pay me to go shopping on Thanksgiving weekend. That is time for friends and family, not shopping. That any retailer is open on Thanksgiving is just flat pathetic.
I'm against being open on Thanks Giving day and the day after. I own a costume rental/retail store and could sell lots of accessories during those days but we've always been closed during those two days with the belief that our employees should have the time together with family members.
One or two days does not mean much when considering family time. This Black Friday thing is all about money and who can attract the most customers with the greatest deals, even though most people might not even be able to afford them. So what does the consumer do? Buys with credit card and transfers the debt from the retailer to their pockets and in the end the consumer will pay more through interest rate costs on monthly payments.
This makes no business sense. By opening up in the early hours of the morning, retailers are betting that people will spend more money than they normally would have, or that people who normally would not spend money now will. I don't think there's anybody who was thinking, "if only they were open at 3am, I would have spent hundreds of dollars, but since not, I'll keep my money." The retailers are only time-shifting their customers' purchases.
Nordstrom Department Stores Posted:
At Nordstrom...We won't be decking our halls
until Friday, November 25, 2011 Why?
Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one
holiday at a time.
From Our Family to Yours
Just another example of capitalistic GREED of the TOP more worried about their PROFITS (in turn, their BONUSES and MONEY) than allowing employees to have an entire holiday day off. And the crap about how consumer demands are creating this. Yeah, right. They open their doors at Midnight and by noon, the lines are dead as all of the good deals are snapped up. Open your doors at 7:00AM and by the time they close, all of the same deals will be snapped up.
It is all about greed, plain and simple. Exploit the workers as much as possible for as little in return as possible, and if they complain, then fire them, improve the bottom line, and be rewarded for it.
Just sick. The last two years, we have done "no presents" at Christmas besides what we could fit in our stockings (little trinket items). We have ENJOYED the time together just as much, enjoyed the creativity of what we can stuff in there, and REALLY enjoyed the enormous savings each year and the headaches avoided by trying to shop.
I just wanted to add that essential services is a totally different story. My husband was a cop and worked many holidays for which he got extra compensation. He was missed but it was understood that criminals don't celebrate holidays. He also worked 24 hour shifts during 9/11 and of course, he never complained. Point being - despite what our current President says - Americans are not lazy and will step up to the plate when necessary. But, can someone please explain how working for near minimum wage, without overtime, during a national holiday, so people can buy a 32 inch flat screen for a few dollars less, is necessary? Thanksgiving is unique in that is only for Americans to celebrate. When we allow retailers to rob us of that, we are losing what it means to be American. Just my opinion.
How about the respect of family? Why would you take these people away from their families? I would never shop at those hours. I find it so disrespectful to make these people work.
What a shame..
It makes me sad that everything we do today is about money. Holidays used to mean something. You planned and planned because NOTHING was open on Thanksgiving. You gased up the car the day before if you were traveling. Families spent time together and shared stories and family histories. I was in retail for 25 years and it all but ruined the holidays for me. I wouldn't be caught dead shopping on "Black Friday". What an appropriate title. It's all about greed...greed...greed. Is it any wonder that our country is in that state that it is in. We work ALL THE TIME!!! Cell phones, computers, and nothing is ever closed. It certainly hasn't made my life better. Families have no sense of the true spirit of any holiday anymore, children only know that it is about "STUFF". Retailers: Open at 8 A. M. on Friday, people will still spend their money, and lots of it. Let your customers and your employees re-learn how wonderful this time of year should be!
I need to respond to all the people who keep saying if retail workers don't like it, they can quit and let someone else have their job. I work retail and for the most part I really enjoy my job so I don't want to let someone else have it. But on the other hand, I enjoy Thanksgiving with my family also. When I started this job, we opened at 5 am on Black Friday, so no, I didn't know what I was signing up for. I never dreamed I wouldn't be able to have Thanksgiving with my family. (I also work overnight on Wednesday)
As for all the people who would love to have my job, if that's the case, where are they? We can't fill the positions that are open. So my assumption is that either people don't need jobs that badly, or maybe they just don't want to work lousy hours for even worse seasonal employee pay.
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