"Encouraging people to shop in the middle of the night is bizarre," wrote one petitioner who identified himself as Scottie Brookie. "And forcing employees to be there to help them, when they could be home with their families, is insensitive and cruel."
Hardwick is not the only person leading campaigns against retailers with early Black Friday openings. Benjamin Joffe-Walt, Change.org spokesman, said 30 similar petitions were launched against companies, including one trying to push back Best Buy's midnight opening.
Competitiveness in the retail sector intensifies every holiday season as holiday activity provides about 20 percent of retailers' annual sales every year. However, some retailers are not jumping on the band wagon.
J.C. Penney will remain closed Thanksgiving Day.
"We wanted to give our associates Thanksgiving Day to spend with their families," Bill Gentner, senior vice president for marketing at J.C. Penney, told the New York Times.
Because of an anemic economy, many retailers are trying to lure customers as analysts predict an average holiday shopping season. According to the National Retail Federal, retail sales for 2011 are expected to increase 2.8 percent to $465.6 billion.