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Black Friday Revolt at Target

Eileen Ambrose

10:45 AM EST, November 16, 2011

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Update: Kohl's is the latest retailer to announce it is opening doors at midnight on Black Friday in Baltimore. And the retailer says it will remain open 24 hours on Friday. It also promises to award customers $15 cash for every $15 spent at Kohls.com or in the store from Nov. 23rd through the 27th. No limit on the cash amount you can earn, Kohl's says.

Not sure how Kohl's employees' feel about 24 hour opening. But the petition against Target's early opening continues to gain supporters. Last count: 99,448.

Update: As of 4:15, Hardwick's petition had 90,373 signatures.

Not everyone is happy about Target’s decision to open its doors at midnight after Thanksgiving dinner to get a jump on Black Friday.

A Target employee in Omaha has launched a petition to get the Minnesota-based retailer to reconsider because opening at midnight means that employees would have to get to the stores by 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

In a prepared statement, Target parking lot attendant Anthony Hardwick says he is taking a risk speaking out not just for himself but his co-workers: “I’m speaking out for the thousands of other Target employees who are concerned about risking their job by publicly taking a stand against these earlier Thanksgiving Day hours…

“And it’s not just employees who are angry…Customers have signed onto my campaign as well, and many are starting their own petitions. Clearly, the retail giants have gone too far.”

You can find Hardwick’s petition at Change.org, where it has collected more than 83,000 signatures. Change.org says 26 similar petitions have been launched on its site.

Among some of the signers who commented on the site:

Bryce Allison wrote: “It's a national holiday not a national shopping day... maybe try giving thanks for your employees that bring you so much money.”

Scotty Brookie: “Encouraging people to shop in the middle of the night is bizarre. And forcing employees to be there to help them, when they could be home with their families, is insensitive and cruel.”

Sonia Rodriquez: “Hard-working store associates deserve their family time on Thanksgiving. I will definitely be taking my business elsewhere than Target over this policy.”

I called Target and was told someone will get back to me. I'll post its response when it comes in.

Update: This just in from Target: 

"Black Friday is one of the busiest and most competitive shopping days of the year. We have heard from our guests that they want to shop Target following their Thanksgiving celebrations rather than only having the option of getting up in the middle of the night. By opening at midnight, we are making it easier than ever to deliver on our guests wants and needs.

"We also do our best to work around the schedules of our team members, making every effort to accommodate their plans. Target will offer holiday pay to all hourly team members who work on Thanksgiving Day."

Meanwhile, what do you think about these early morning, late night store openings on the holiday? Do they make holiday shopping a fun event, or are they unfair to workers and demeaning to shoppers who end up waiting in line in the cold for a bargain?