Target employee sparks viral Black Friday protest over store hours
More than 200,000 people have signed a digital petition urging Target to push back the time it opens on Black Friday.
This year, Target is planning to open its stores at 9pm on Thanksgiving evening instead of midnight on Black Friday, as it did last year.
The petition was started by Target employee C. Renee. During the day Renee works as a substitute teacher, and in the evenings and weekends she’s at Target.
“I'm not complaining about being a minimum wage worker,” Renee wrote in her change.org petition.
“Target, as a company, does some good and maintains a commitment to charity. Thanksgiving, though, is one of the three days retail workers get off a year, a day most spend with family. Midnight last year was pushing it. How can you expect workers to spend time with family and then stay up all night. It's inhumane and inconsiderate.”
Renee’s petition has collected 209,000 digital signatures so far. She is 90,000 away from her stated goal.
In 2011, Target employed 355,000 people across 1,763 stores. That same year, Black Friday sales “increased 6.6 percent to the largest amount ever as U.S. consumers shrugged off 9 percent unemployment and went shopping,” Bloomberg News reported. This increase was in large part to retailers like Target opening their doors earlier to accommodate eager shoppers. Wal-Mart, which has capitalized on such tactics, is also facing blowback from employees.
Since early October, employees at 28 different Walmart’s in 12 different states have staged walkouts and strikes.
On social news site Reddit, a heated debate over extended store hours has been brewing in a r/askreddit thread. Among the 1,800 comments, many redditors sympathized with the plight of underpaid retail workers while others looked at the situation differently.
“I always enjoyed busy retail days,” salgat commented. “Retail jobs can be torture simply because of the boredom. Seeing all the people hustling around and all the action really makes the day go by faster.”
“As a former retail wage slave I loved working the holidays,” revmatty added. “Holiday pay, busy enough that I didn't get bored, and a legit excuse to avoid the family.”
Photo by capsun/Flickr