While many consumers are anxiously awaiting midnight “Black Friday” sales, one group that doesn’t share their enthusiasm is Target Corp.’s (NYSE:TGT) employees.
Yesterday, Target received six bags full of 190,000 employee-signed petitions protesting the store’s Thanksgiving Day midnight opening. They were sent to the company’s Minneapolis headquarters after the movement had been started by an Omaha, Nebraska worker.
According to a Reuters’ article, the employee Anthony Hardwick believed the store’s early opening time conflicted with family events.
Hardwick said, “Thanksgiving is a holiday for family to get together. If you’re having your employees show up at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, they’re going to spend their day sleeping so they can get ready for the busiest shopping day of the year.”
Target shares the midnight open with its competitors: Macy’s (NYSE:M), Gap (NYSE:GPS), Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS), and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY). The stores have previously started their Black Friday sales at either 3 or 4 a.m. but this year, the earlier open is an attempt to see greater sales and meet customer demands.
Meanwhile, employees at other retailers may face even less time with their families. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Kmart (NASDAQ:SHLD) are open on Thanksgiving Day, along with a few Gap stores. Other businesses such as movie theaters, drug stores and grocery stores are also usually open on Thanksgiving.
In statement today by Target, Anahita Camercon, director of stores human resources said, “The decision to open at midnight on Black Friday was not one we took lightly. As that is the busiest shopping day of the year, it is imperative that we be competitive. Our guests have expressed that they would prefer to kick off their holiday shopping by heading out after their holiday celebrations rather than getting up in the middle of the night.”
Hardwick had been scheduled to work on Thanksgiving but after he signed the petition, his hours “mysteriously disappeared.”