In a response to Target announcing it will open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, over 95,000 people have signed a petition on the website Change.org, demanding Target change its opening time to later.
The mega store recently announced that its stores would open at midnight on Black Friday morning.
The petition, started by Nebraska-based Target employee Anthony Hardwick, garnered support from employees and shoppers alike who feel the Thanksgiving opening is a step too far.
"I felt that it was my duty to speak up for them and voice that employees aren't happy," said Hardwick to the Omaha World-Herald. "Even salaried management isn't happy. It's cutting into their Thanksgiving, and we want to spend time with our families. That's what's important."
Although the petition is gaining widespread support, Target is feeling the pressure to compete with retail giants like Walmart and Macy’s, who are also scheduled to open up for the holiday.
Molly Snyder, a corporate spokesperson for Target, told the Omaha World-Herald: "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. By opening at midnight, we are making it easier than ever for our guests to shop ... when they want to shop."
As Black Friday quickly approaches, the two sides look to hold firm in opposition.
“Encouraging people to shop in the middle of the night is bizarre,” said Scotty Brookie on the petition. “And forcing employees to be there to help them, when they could be home with their families, is insensitive and cruel.”
With consumers pressured to get the best deals in these tough economic times, retailers are looking to capitalize on early sales while petitioners are eager to protest the busiest shopping day of the year.
Only time will tell who will prevail.