Backlash Over Black Friday

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

Black Friday is quickly becoming Black Thursday.

"It seems like shopping just gets earlier and earlier every year," shopper Chuck Veverka said at Meijer in Okemos.

As early as Thanksgiving nowadays, but it's nothing new for Meijer. For years it's been open 24 hours on Thanksgiving, with specials beginning at 6:00 a.m.

"I have a lot of great team members who really look forward to this day, and look forward to how busy it is and helping all the customers get ready for Christmas," Okemos Meijer Store Director Chris Wilson said.

But not everyone feels that way. After Target announced it's opening earlier than ever at 9:00 p.m. Thursday, employees got 350,000 petition signatures asking the company to reverse that decision. Meanwhile, Walmart greeters will take on a whole new meaning with 1,000 protests planned nationwide this week.

"We are human beings and not just animals that they can take for a joke," Walmart Employee Elaine Rozier said.

Some employees at Meijer in Okemos said they actually requested to work on Thanksgiving because they need the money, and shoppers need the deals.

"Everyone is trying to fight for that dollar," shopper Jessica Perrone said. "Will I be here? Yes. Do I like it? No. I think it takes away from family time."

She said it's worth it to find the perfect gifts for her kids at a bargain price though. On the other hand, those with family members working find it especially difficult.

"It's frustrating. Sometimes they're not given a choice," Kelly Schwarzkopf said. "It's like 'work or else,' and in this economy, you just don't have a choice to say no."

Her husband has worked retail for almost a decade, but she likes to think about the good ol' days.

"I think it's a bad habit that we've gotten into in society," Schwarzkopf said. "I can remember when stores used to not be open on Sundays, let alone on holidays."

Meijer isn't concerned about a backlash, but they are curious about the competition.

"With some of the other stores opening up a little bit early this year, it will probably alter our shopping patterns a little bit," Wilson said. "We believe that our loyal customers will be here on those days. We'll just have to see how that works out."

Toys 'R Us will also be offering earlier deals. The store in Okemos is opening its doors at 8:00 p.m. Thursday.


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