Retail giant Target is meeting resistance to its earlier Thanksgiving Day opening from both sides of the aisle — employees and consumers.
An online petition started by a Target employee garnered more than 165,000 signatures by Monday night in a quest to dissuade the company from opening on Thanksgiving to jump start its Black Friday sales.
Target and Toys R US both announced earlier store hours for this year's holiday. Target will open three hours earlier at 9 p.m., and Toys R US will open its doors an hour earlier at 8 p.m on Thanksgiving.
"Since workers need to show up sometimes hours before the story officially opens, this will take much of Thanksgiving away from retail employees across the country," said Casey Renee, the worker who launched "Target: Take the high road and save Thanksgiving."
"Target can take the high road and save Thanksgiving for employees like me and our families by saying no to 'Thanksgiving Creep,'" she added.
Target defended its decision to open earlier this year, telling Metro the employees who work on Thanksgiving will receive holiday pay equal to time and a half their hourly rate.
"Across the country, each store asked team members for their preferences and schedules were created to meet the needs of our team and the business," Molly Snyder, a Target spokesperson, told Metro. "Target appreciates our team’s flexibility throughout the holiday season."
Snyder said the holiday season is highly competitive, with Thanksgiving weekend being one of the busiest times of the year, but even some consumers insist big box retailers have finally gone too far by beginning the Black Friday madness before Thanksgiving is even over.
"Chasing after the almighty dollar only benefits the Target CEO and shareholders who will be home enjoying Thanksgiving with their loving families," Michael Benjamin of the Bronx said when he signed the petition. "Target employees deserve the same holiday benefit."
"Saving money on products seems good for consumers, and earning money for business appears beneficial," Jenny Jiang from Brooklyn added. "But big companies such as Target earn enough money as it is, and Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays in the U.S., a day when employees shouldn't have to work."