Darrin Mummert began shopping on Black Friday 13 years ago. Every year, without fail, he's made it before the store opens to be one of the many people waiting in line. One year he got to Best Buy at 1:30 a.m. for a 6 a.m. sale so he could purchase a digital camcorder. Not this year, though.
Mummert, of Westminster, said while he plans to go shopping at some point over the weekend, getting to Walmart by 6 p.m. for the store's opening today - Thanksgiving - is just not an option for him.
"I thought 8 p.m. [Thursday] last year was a little ridiculous. I mean, I made it to Walmart by 7:30 to get what I needed," he said.
But Thanksgiving evening openings won't work for a conscious consumer like Mummert, who typically gets most of his holiday shopping done on Black Friday.
"I personally am still doing family dinner. I just can't make it this year," he said.
More stores than ever are opening on Thanksgiving as opposed to Black Friday, which is leading to pushback from both consumers and retailers.
Protesters are showing their support for staying home instead of shopping on social media. A Facebook page called "Boycott Black Thursday" includes a badge users can share that states, "Because I believe in family, I pledge not to shop on Thanksgiving. If I'm shopping, someone else is working and NOT spending time with their family. Everyone deserves a holiday."
Thus far, it's been shared 12,124 times, as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Despite the outrage, retailers are expecting a crowd. Approximately 23 percent of the 140 million people planning to shop this weekend will do so on Thanksgiving, according to survey results from the National Retail Federation.
This year, more than half of the stores at TownMall of Westminster will be open on Thanksgiving, beginning at 8 p.m., said Susan Seaman, the specialty leasing manager from TownMall of Westminster.
The mall will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday evening. TownMall will begin offering door busters for its shoppers beginning Friday at 6 a.m., when the remaining stores open. The first 200 customers who purchase $200 of merchandise or more will receive about $200 in coupons, and several gift cards.
In the days leading up to Black Friday, workers at the Books-A-Million store in TownMall have been unloading boxes in preparation.
"[We're focused on] just getting our shipment out and hoping for big crowds," said store manager Keith Hughes.
This holiday shopping season is unique in that there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and December than years past. While last year there were 32 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this year there are 26.
Jesse Tron, a spokesperson for the International Council of Shopping Council, said fewer days between the holidays means there is more incentive for consumers to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday this year.
An estimated 140 million people will shop during the Black Friday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. The amount of people shopping could be due to less time, Tron said.
"I think a lot of that also has to do with some of the fewer shopping days, less of a procrastinator's paradise, so to speak. I think we've seen sort of the momentum of this day growing even a little bit [each year]," Tron said.
Retailers have consistently opened earlier and earlier as years have gone on, which helps to "incubate" the idea with consumers, Tron said.
It happened slowly. Mummert said when he began shopping on Black Friday 13 years ago, most stores opened at 7 a.m.
"In 13 years, it's changed from a 7 a.m. on Friday event to 6 p.m. on Thursday, so it's been pushed up 13 hours in the 13 years I've been doing it," he said.
While he doesn't plan on being there right at the opening, Mummert said he'll likely still show up on Black Friday, and maybe later on Thursday evening. This year he plans to rely a little more heavily on shopping online.
Mummert may not be one of the 30 million shoppers out on Thursday evening, but the number is still big.
"Even though I'm not going to go out, it's not going to detract [from] all of the crazy people I see out there every year," he said.