Is a full day with one's family on Thanksgiving Day becoming less and less possible for retail employees? That is a concern for a Target employee who is petitioning the retail giant to back down from its plan to open at midnight Black Friday on Nov. 25 because it prevents employees from enjoying their holiday.
Anthony Hardwick works at a Target in Omaha, Neb., and when he was told to work Thanksgiving Day, he created a petition on Change.org to get the attention of Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, to convince the head of Target to cancel its Thanksgiving Day opening.
"A midnight opening robs the hourly and in-store salary workers of time off with their families on Thanksgiving Day," Hardwick says in the petition letter. "By opening the doors at midnight Target is requiring team members to be in the store by 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. 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 nights [sic] rest on Thanksgiving!"
In an interview with ABC News, Hardwick said that Target's policy will effectively ruin his holiday.
"I'm going to have to get some sleep and I'll probably go to bed at 2 and miss my family's Thanksgiving dinner completely," he said.
Hardwick, who works two jobs and said he is glad to have work, is nonetheless worried about what working on Thanksgiving means. "Even though it's a desperate time doesn't mean that we should trade all the ground that our fathers and our grandfathers, everyone that came before us, fought really hard for," he told The New York Times.
Target is not the only retailer opening at midnight. Best Buy, Macy's and Kohl's are also getting a headstart on Black Friday. Walmart is opening up even earlier – at 10 p.m.
Brian Dunn, the CEO of Best Buy, told The Wall Street Journal that he had to "make a very difficult decision" when he decided to extend the retail giant's hours. "I feel terrible," Dunn said. "It will change some Thanksgiving plans for our employees. It certainly changes mine."
Holly Thomas, a Macy’s spokeswoman, told The New York Times that some employees appreciate being able to work on Thanksgiving. "There are many associates who would prefer to work this time as they appreciate the flexibility it affords their schedules for the holiday weekend," she said.
However, some would-be shoppers are opting out of Thanksgiving shopping.
"I personally think that Thanksgiving Day should be about family and being thankful for what we have, and not necessarily what more we can gain by more shopping," one would-be shopper told ABC News.
Hardwick's petition has obtained over 27,000 signatures since it was published on Change.org, and many signers have chastised not only the stores, but the shoppers who will undoubtedly be visiting the stores, as well.
"Those who succumb and 'buy' into this by shopping on a holiday devoted to THANKS for meaningful graces in our lives, have zero, absolutely zero, moral depth," said Caroline Hemenway, one of the petition's signers. "Shoppers with moral character will boycott all stores that do this."
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Target will open 29 of its Denver-area stores from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in a test to determine if they should open in other markets on future Thanksgivings.