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Is Target’s Thanksgiving Night Opening at 9 for Black Friday Unfair to Employees?

Target
Sandy Huffaker, Getty Images

We all know about what retail employees typically refer to as the ‘Thanksgiving Creep’, the opening time for a store on ‘Black Friday’ that gets earlier every year. This year, target has announced that they will open at 9pm on Thanksgiving night to get a jump on the competition, and their employees are are not exactly filled with holiday cheer over the announcement. Last year, Target opened at midnight on Black Friday and employees complained bitterly about that, to the tune of multiple petitions that garnered more than 200,000 signatures against the move.

There are more petitions this year including one with over 160,000 signatures asking the Target brass to let the employees have Thanksgiving with their families. My question is, what’s all the fuss about? If Target wants to open on Thanksgiving night, it seems reasonable that it is their prerogative to do so.

I totally understand the desire to be with family on Thanksgiving and other holidays without having to worry about work. I have been in radio for over 25 years and have worked many holidays including Christmas and Thanksgiving many times over. In fact, I am off this Thanksgiving for the first time in 10 years and for only the second time in the last 20 years.

Police officers, fire fighters EMS workers and hospital workers all work on Thanksgiving because it comes with the territory and sometimes, even retailers fall into that category. I just mentioned a few, but many people have to work or have some kind of responsibility that keeps them away from the family once in a while during the holidays.

Target and all other retailers are in business to make money, and while we all agree that Christmas gets earlier and earlier every year, almost to the point of ridiculousness, these stores have to make those decisions in order to stay competitive in the marketplace and that’s just the way it is.

I know times are tough and jobs are somewhat scarce, but if you need your job and want to keep your job, you have to do what you have to do sometimes even though it’s less than ideal. As unfair as it might seem, employers have the right to do whatever they think they need to do in order to stay competitive within reason.

Opening at 9pm on Thanksgiving is not necessarily unreasonable as long as they give advanced notice. Telling you a week before Thanksgiving is kind of a crappy thing to do and is certainly unfair to those who spent non-refundable money to visit family, but it’s not necessarily the wrong thing to do – just food for thought.

Anybody who works in a profession where working holidays is the norm will certainly understand your frustration, but at the end of the day, it is what it is and we just have to deal with it.

 

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