From my USA Today piece:
No longer will anxious consumers be forced to wait until 4 a.m. on Black Friday. This year, several companies, including Target, Toys R Us, and Walmart, are obligingly opening their doors Thanksgiving night, with at least a couple opening as early as 8 p.m.
. . .
The early launch is also hurting some employees. “Thanksgiving … is one of the three days retail workers get off a year: a day most all of us spend with family we only get to see on that day,” writes Target employee Casey St. Clair in a petition on Change.org asking the company to consider not opening on Thanksgiving night.
So far, St. Clair’s petition has been signed by more than 330,000 people. It’s simply not fair to ask minimum wage (or close to it) employees, many of whom already are regularly working weekends, to give up a rare day they can expect their loved ones will also have off.
I’ve done Black Friday: Set the alarm for four a.m., downed a pot of coffee, and hit the sales. So it’s certainly not the practice of offering discounts I oppose! But it’s a shame that this new surge of “Black Thursday” sales is ending the practice of Thanksgiving as a full day where people cooked, relaxed, and visited with friends and family. And while I’m sure some employees will be happy to get the extra hours of work and pay, I’m sure plenty others feel like St. Clair. I worked minimum wage (or less than a dollar more) jobs several summers, and I remember how frustrating it was to ever schedule anything with those who were also on minimum wage schedules because none of us ever had the same days off (I almost always worked weekends, but if I had say, Tuesday and Thursday off, my friend would have Wednesday and Monday), and bosses were never pleased to honor specific requests about scheduling. It really does make it much tougher to spend time with friends and family than it is for someone working a forty-hour, Monday through Friday job, whose family and friends also have the same sort of jobs, and you all consistently have weekends off. By all means, let’s have a booming economy this holiday season — just let’s start it a few hours later on Friday.