Target employees protest early Black Friday opening

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. received six red-and-white Target bags full of petitions Monday signed by 190,000 people to protest stores opening for “Black Friday” sales at midnight Thursday.

The petitions, delivered by Target employee Seth Coleman to a representative at the retailer’s Minneapolis headquarters, were the result of an effort started by Anthony Hardwick, an Omaha, Neb., employee who said the store’s decision to advance its Black Friday opening time interfered with family gatherings.

“Thanksgiving is a holiday for family to get together,” said Hardwick, 29. “If you’re having your employees show up at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, they’re going to spend their day sleeping so they can get ready for the busiest shopping day of the year.”

Target, Macy’s, Gap, Kohl’s, and Best Buy all plan to open at midnight Thursday in an attempt to boost sales. The stores have in past years started their Black Friday sales at 3 or 4 a.m. Friday, but hours were moved earlier to boost sales and in response to customer demands.

Both Walmart and Kmart will be open Thanksgiving Day, as well as some Gap stores.

In a statement, Target said that it valued and respected the rights of workers to express their opinions.

“The decision to open at midnight … was not one we took lightly,” said Anahita Cameron, a Target director of stores human resources, in a statement. “As that is the busiest shopping day of the year, it is imperative that we be competitive.”

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