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R U READY? Some Retailers Planning 'Black Thursday' Opening This Year

The National Federation of Retailers last week released a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey that found that around 147 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend.

That annual staple of Thanksgiving returns this year and it isn’t the turkey.

They refer to it as Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year.  However, many retailers plan to make it Black Thursday this year, opening earlier than ever so that there is barely enough time to digest that second helping of stuffing, yams, and mash potatoes.

Stores such as Walmart, Target, Sears, Kmart, and Toys "R" Us all plan to open their doors at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving instead of the usual early Friday morning.

Not everyone is happy about the earlier hours, some employees in particular. 

Casey St. Clair, a 24-year-old Target employee, created a petition Nov. 8 on Change.org titled "Target: Take the high road and save Thanksgiving." More than 361,000 people have signed the online petition, which has been shared widely on social media sites such as Facebook.

St. Clair said in the petition that she doesn't object to Black Friday, just this year's 8 p.m. Thursday opening.

"I just heard that one of Target's top competitors, Walmart, will open at 8 pm on Thanksgiving this year. 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," she wrote. "Target can take the high road and save Thanksgiving for employees like me and our families by saying no to 'Thanksgiving Creep.'"

St. Clair, who works at the Norco store in Riverside County, personally delivered her petition to Target corporate headquarters in Minneapolis Monday, The Press Enterprise reported.

Tim Curoe, Target’s vice president of human resources told the newspaper that while he appreciates that employees working Black Friday are cutting their holiday short others are in favor of the company’s plans and want the holiday and incentive pay.

Retailers don't appear likely to let protesting employees deter plans to open early.

The National Retail Federation last week released a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey that found that around 147 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), slightly down from the 152 million who declared they would last year.

Of those surveyed, 71 million said they plan to shop and another 76 million revealed that they would wait to see what kind of deals retailers had to offer that weekend.

Specifically, 71 million said they would shop and another 76 million said they would wait and see what retailers have in-store that weekend, NRF reported.

“Though the Black Friday tradition is here to stay, there’s no question that it has changed in recent years; already there is a tremendous amount of excitement and anticipation surrounding retailers’ Thanksgiving and Black Friday promotions,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release.

“It’s critical for retail companies to constantly evolve as consumers do, and right now shoppers want great deals, good value, and convenience—exactly what we’re seeing with this season’s late and early openings, price-matching, layaway, and mobile offerings.”

The survey also included data on how shoppers prefer to keep up with promotions.  Around 49.5 percent track sales with advertising circulars, while 30.5 percent say they rely on television ads to follow upcoming sales and events.  The number of Americans who prefer to track sales digitally is growing, with 26.8 percent saying they will follow retailers’ websites and 31.4 percent planning to keep up with specials via emails from stores.

“The days of waking up Thanksgiving morning to find out what retailers’ Black Friday promotions will be has transitioned into an ongoing dialogue between companies and their customers starting days in advance,” said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow in a statement. “Through sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, company blogs, emails and mobile apps, consumers can connect with their favorite retailers like never before.”

Digital promotions for Black Friday also are growing.

Three or 10 retailers, or 29 percent, say they plan to promote Black Friday deals with mobile alerts, an increase from 18.4 percent last year, according to the Shop.org’s eHoliday survey BIGinsight conducted.

Around 80.6 percent of retailers surveyed also said they plan to use Facebook to pass along information about in-store deals to shoppers, up from 73.7 percent in 2011.

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Eric Shamp November 20, 2012 at 07:58 PM
If you plan on shopping on Thanksgiving, you ought to give some serious thought about your values. This is the unfettered free market in action: it doesn't care about fellowship and thanks giving. It has the values of a cockroach or a robot. It responds only to the economic bottom line. Therefore, I will not shop at any store that opens for Black Thursday, the holiday formerly known as Thanksgiving. Not ever. No more Target, no more K-Mart, no more Wal-Mart. Not ever. Please consider your own shopping habits.
SBSWZ November 20, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Concur. I will be working (giving thanks for a job to feed my family). Instead of WalK-Mart, try helping the Cornerstone church Wednesday evenings (6 to around 830) helping to serve meals, etc to those less fortunate. Instead of buying, how about giving your clean and usable items there on Monday mornings (line begins around 9 AM so drop them off prior to the line lining up). Spend time there thanking those who struggle to keep their families afloat (as opposed to abandoning their families). There are women and children shelters in Riverside on Magnolia and one in SB. Salvation Army centers .. etc... I doubt there will be hoards of people pushing and shoving at these places...
james November 21, 2012 at 06:56 AM
Cutting employees hours in order to get out of offering heath insurance, work the holidays, get f¥€kd. Shits real. Oh well. Will keep our heads up. Whistle while you work.
B.C. November 22, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Eric, I'm agreeing with you on this. Thanksgiving was originally a time to give thanks to God, but has changed over the decades to something completely unrelated to God. We have become a more and more anti-religious culture, so it comes as no surprise that this Day has devolved into hyper-consumerism.
Eric Shamp November 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Thanksgiving is celebrated according to the customs of whichever table is hosting it, but it is not strictly a religious holiday. It has its roots in traditional harvest feasts that occur in many cultures. Our version descended from English colonialism on the North American continent, which is why it in only practiced in the US and Canada. Therefore, I do not view "black Thursday" as evidence of a decline in Christianity or whichever form of God-worship you are referring to. I see it as a decline in the values (both secular and non-) that hold together a diverse society that includes both religious and non-religious people. I don't believe that our culture has become anti-religious. However, I do believe that consumerism is replacing religion in our collective culture's priorities. There will be plenty of self-professed Christians shopping at Walmart on Thursday night. There will also be plenty of atheists (like myself) who will be expressing gratitude and enjoying fellowship at the feast table. Happy Thanksgiving, B.C and SBSWZ. Thanks for all the insights over the last year. You haven't converted me yet (and you aren't going to), but I'm still listening.
Charles Ferrell November 22, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Every day is a day to give God thanks. One can go shopping and still be a person of faith. Our American culture is becoming more non-religious and perhaps anti-religious, however. This especially applies to the religion of athiesm. It used to be that athiests were mere non-believers; now, they have been political activist anti-believers and anti those of us who are people of faith. They are no longer satisfied with being non-believers; they want to take away the rest of our rights to be believers. Their "religion" is offended by the sight of a cross or a Star of David in a public place and that is wrong; meanwhile it is OK if I am "offended" by the removal of these symbols of faith. Why is it wrong for them to be offended but OK if I am offended? Many Christians over the years were advised to "turn the other cheek." In todays growing secular world, Christians, Jews and all people of faith are being "told" not just to "turn the other cheek" but to bend over, grab our ankles, and open another pair of cheeks. Sorry if that is "offensive" to some people. I say let athiests not believe what they wish and let the rest of us believe what we wish. As long as a Christian or a Jew or anyone else of faith are merely "inspired" by a cross, a Star of David or whatever symbol of their faith they enjoy, leave them alone. If they take a cross or a Star of David and beat somebody over the head with it, then I draw the line and say "lock 'em up." "Offended" and "assaulted" are different terms.
Eric Shamp November 22, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Charles, I (an atheist) just want you to try to be a good person, just like I try to be a good person. If being a Christian makes you a good person, then I respect your faith. I even envy it a little. I don't mean to insult anyone's faith, but (at the risk of sounding like Gregory Brittain & his obsession with justifying every belief by quotations from the Founding Fathers) I think Thomas Jefferson was spot-on when wrote Virginia's Bill for Religious Freedom. Please understand that I just don't want my tax dollars going to support any faith, because I that's not the role of government. Happy Thanksgiving, Charles.
B.C. November 22, 2012 at 09:22 AM
Thanksgiving as celebrated in the USA has been religious from the beginning. You know, the Pilgrims. Look up the the historical documents of presidential proclamations about Thanksgiving (Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Congress making it a national holiday). All have references to giving thanks to God. In our current society that would be considered a violation of separation of church and state, but that is the unfortunate sign of the times. If you research other cultures' version of Thanksgiving, you'll probably find religious roots in them, i.e. giving thanks to God for a bountiful harvest. Thanksgiving celebration customs have evolved, but it's still about giving thanks to Who?--God for His blessings. In my opinion, our cultural decline can be cured by an acknowledgement of a "higher power." Happy Thanksgiving.
Charles Ferrell November 22, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Thanksgiving Day Headline: "Atheist group at Dartmouth plans anti Mother Teresa event... " So at least some of those who celebrate the non-faith religion of Atheism even oppose the good done in the name of people of faith. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
SBSWZ November 22, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Thank you Mr. Shamp for your insight this year as well. People like you give me hope that there are intelligent and inquisitive people around - whether conservative, liberal, and all throughout the spectrum of ideologies on various issues. Happy Thanksgiving!

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