Story by Kylee Mecham
Black Friday is known as the biggest shopping day of the year. It is a day filled with big deals and big savings for everyone. However, for employees of retail stores, Black Friday is a day filled with frustration.
Due to consumer demand for more deals, Black Friday is starting to spill over on to Thursday over the past few years. Many stores now open at midnight on Friday. Some stores, such as Walmart and Old Navy are even open on Thanksgiving Day with the hope of getting more sales.
24-year old Grace Fahrer has worked at 5 different retail stores, and at the moment is an associate at Victoria Secret’s. “I’ve been working in retail since I was 16-years old, and since then I have never had the chance to enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend with my family,” said Fahrer.
Christina Burris, manager of a Banana Republic store, understands how stressful Black Friday can be for all of her employees. Every year, she has employees begging her for the day after Thanksgiving off. “Just like my employees, I wish I could spend my Thanksgiving weekend with family, but due to the publics demands I need everyone’s help over the holiday,” said Burris.
Jade Anderson Gill, an employee at Walmart, just worked her first Black Friday. Gill said, “I always loved to go shopping on Black Friday with my friends and family, but now that I’ve been on the other side of it, I don’t think I’ll ever want to go out shopping on Black Friday again.”
Since Walmart’s sales started at ten o’clock, Gill was required to be at the store at 9 o’clock on Thanksgiving night. She had to cut her time with her family short in order to get enough sleep for her work shift that lasted until four in the morning.
This year some employees’ complaints caught the attention of the nation. It all started when Anthony Hardwick decided to take a stand against one of the largest retail stores, Target.
Hardwick, a Target employee in Omaha, Nebraska, started a petition called “Tell Target To Save Thanksgiving,” on http://www.change.org.
According to Hardwick, “All Americans should be able to break bread with loved ones on Thanksgiving! A midnight opening robs the hourly and in-store salary workers of time off with their families on Thanksgiving Day.”
Over 200,000 people had signed Hardwick’s petition by Nov 24.
In a press release, Target defended its choice to open earlier. “We have heard from our guests that they want to shop Target following their Thanksgiving celebrations rather than only having the option of getting up in the middle of the night,” said Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target.
Hardwick and his stand against Target inspired over 150 other petitions on http://www.change.org asking other major retailers, such as Walmart, Kmart, Best Buy and Old Navy, to put employees and families first.
In response to the petition, Fahrer said, “I hope that retailers will consider us workers more when it comes to next year’s Thanksgiving weekend.”