Retail Workers, Families Disgruntled Over Interrupted Thanksgiving

PHOTO: Jennifer Ann of Vernon Hills, Ill. is petitioning Target against its early 9 P.M. store opening on Thanksgiving.

Retailers are pushing the envelope again this Thanksgiving with earlier store openings, bringing jeers from some employees who say they would prefer to spend the holiday with their families.

Target announced on Monday that it's opening on Thanksgiving at 9 p.m. at some stores for its Black Friday sale, which in the past began the day after Thanksgiving.

Walmart will be opening its doors at 8 p.m. Sears will also open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, up from 4 a.m. on Black Friday last year. Kmart will be open Thanksgiving Day 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., then it will close and reopen 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Macy's, Kohl's and Best Buy open at midnight.

Some employees and their families have expressed frustrationwith the earlier store opening time, saying it cuts into family celebrations. Last year, one Target employee started a petition in protest against Target's 11 p.m. opening, which proceeded as planned.

This year, a sister of a Target employee in Vernon Hills, Ill., started a petition on Change.org.

Jennifer Ann, 26, started the petition so that her younger brother, a part-time Target employee, can spend Thanksgiving with the family. She asked that her last name not be published to protect her brother's employment with the retailer.

"Last year he had to leave early, and this year he won't be able to make it at all," she said. Her brother, who has worked at Target for a handful of years, is a full-time student. Jennifer Ann said her brother enjoys his job and has no plans to leave Target.

"It's just this time of year it gets extra stressful," she said.

Traditionally, her family travels about 40 minutes to their grandmother's home to spend the holiday with their extended family. Her brother, however, will have to be at work around 7 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Target said that the 9 p.m. opening time was "carefully evaluated with our guests, team and the business in mind."

"In fact, across the country, team member preferences were considered in creating our store staffing schedules," Target said in a statement. "Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest of the year, and we appreciate our Target team's flexibility on this weekend and throughout the holiday season."

Jennifer Ann said her brother does not believe Target will change its policies this year, but she hopes Target will reconsider their plans for 2013.

Change.org is hosting about 40 similar petitions against other retailers, including Best Buy, Sears and Toys "R" Us.

"I just hope next year this doesn't occur. I hope retailers take a look at this," Jennifer Ann said. "Every year this gets worst. People want to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Next year, I hope they revert to the way things were when Black Friday was on Friday."

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