Black Friday starting way early in AustinPublished 10:30am Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Target employees upset; four major retailers to open on Thanksgiving
By Tom Webb
Target Corp. confirms its stores — including its Austin location — will open at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving night, its earliest Black Friday opening ever, but it’s drawing new criticism for encroaching on a national holiday.
“Target can take the high road and save Thanksgiving for employees like me and our families by saying no to ‘Thanksgiving Creep,’ “ said the petition written by C. Renee of Corona, Calif.
Last year Target faced a similar petition drive after it announced it would open at midnight on Thanksgiving night. The negative publicity didn’t seem to have much effect; this year Target will open three hours earlier. Its rival Walmart is starting Black Friday sales earlier still, at 8 p.m in Austin and across the country. Sears in Austin and nationwide is also opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Shopko is opening at 9 p.m.
But many other major retailers, including electronics giant Best Buy, are sticking with a midnight opening.
Some shoppers do prefer the nighttime start as a more civilized and family-friendly alternative than, say, a 5 a.m. Friday kickoff. On Monday, Nov. 12, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder cited those customers in explaining the opening.
“Target’s opening time was carefully evaluated with our guests, team and the business in mind,” Snyder said in a statement. “In fact, across the country, team member preferences were considered in creating our store staffing schedules.”
Her email added, “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.”
Meanwhile, the California Target worker said in her petition that she has worked at Target for six years and really likes her job but that Thanksgiving is one of the three days off that retail workers get each year.
—Distributed by MCT Information Services