Black Friday 2011: Petition Against Target Opening at Midnight Gains Steam

A petition asking retail giant Target to “save Thanksgiving” is gaining momentum as consumers and employees argue that that all Americans should be able to spend the U.S. holiday with their families.

The leader of the movement, Anthony Hardwick, a Target employee from Omaha, Neb., has started an online economic justice petition at in which he asks the people to take a stand against Target opening its doors at midnight on Black Friday.

Hardwick argues that the petition to halt the store from its plans of opening its doors across the country at 12 a.m. on America’s most popular shopping day is important because, “A midnight opening robs the hourly and in-store salary workers of time off with their families on Thanksgiving Day.”

“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 night’s rest on Thanksgiving,” Hardwick wrote.

The petition has garnered more than 80,000 signatures and people are commenting on their reasoning for siding with Hardwick’s cause.

Scotty Brookie of Santa Cruz, CA wrote, “Encouraging people to shop in the middle of the night is bizarre. And forcing employees to be there to help them, when they could be home with their families, is insensitive and cruel.”

Joan Kimball-Arnott of Lawrence, KS asked if Target’s CEO would be leaving his own family during Thanksgiving dinner “to go to work?”

Target has responded to their reasoning behind opening doors at midnight by saying, “We have heard from our guests that they want to shop following their Thanksgiving celebrations rather than only having the option of getting up in the middle of the night.”

Several Fortune 500 companies have followed Target’s lead in opening their doors extra early to attract consumers, including Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, The Gap, and even Toys “R” Us.

However, not all companies are buying into the Black Friday mayhem. Nordstrom is taking the Black Friday highroad and has once again elected to hold steady in its holiday sales approach, recession or not.

Nordstrom stores have signs in shops that read, “We won’t be decking our halls until Friday, November 25. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”

Many people have applauded the Seattle-based store for its “classy decision” and for “caring about the people behind the money.”

Some experts predict that the stores that are pulling out all the stops to attract consumers will face consumer backlash but others project that holiday spending is likely to see an increase this year.

With the price of Thanksgiving dinner going up and many families struggling to put food on the table, it remains to be seen if shoppers will opt to have a minimalistic holiday or if they will buy into the bait and shop earlier than ever to get their hands on discounted goods.

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