As bargain shoppers make their Black Friday lists and check them twice, retail employees are rising in protest against the shopping holiday.
In recent weeks retailers like Toys R’ Us, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and many others have been competing for the attention of Black Friday shoppers. In the past few years, stores opened their doors at midnight with door-busting sales. But now retailers are fighting against each other by moving the time closer into the evening of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Unfortunately, retail employees have to sacrifice their Thanksgiving holiday so shoppers can get a head start on Christmas lists.
“It shouldn’t have to be a rushed affair, slipping in to eat some turkey and taking a piece of pie for the road,” said Casey St. Clair, a part-time Target employee and substitute teacher. St. Clair is scheduled to work Wednesday night from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. and return Thanksgiving Day before 9 p.m. and work until 5:15 a.m.
St. Clair said she initially enjoyed working for Target for the past six years until the Black Friday mayhem kicked in. She started a petition on Change.org requesting that Target CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel cancel the Thanksgiving Day opening.
“It’s one of few days retail employees get to spend with their families, but at this point there’s no time to see family,” St. Clair said.
A group of Wal-Mart employees share the same sentiments and are planning to boycott over 1,000 stores on Black Friday. Sears, Kmart, and Kohl’s employees followed in St. Clair’s footsteps by creating over 40 petitions on Change.org asking employers to “give Thanksgiving back to families.”
Change.org is promoting the employees’ efforts as the number of petitions and signatures continue to grow.
“Employees and customers alike are saying, ‘Thanksgiving should be about celebrating with family, not shopping for the latest deals,’” said Change.org spokesperson Charlotte Hill.
Visitors to the site shared how they will boycott stores imposing on the employee holiday.
“I’m a conscious consumer; I think of good reasons to shop where I do, and consider why and why not to give any store my money. Seeing this happen year after year to the employees of Target irks me, and makes me want to…take my money elsewhere,” one visitor commented.
Relatives of employees are also speaking out against the holiday infringement.
“Family has always been important to me and Thanksgiving is all about family,” said Jennifer Ann, who created the “Target: Don’t take away Thanksgiving” petition.
Ann, whose 24-year-old brother works for Target, wrote the petition on behalf of her family. She said it was difficult for her brother to enjoy the holiday with their family last year since he had to work.