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Earlier Black Friday hours are cutting into valuable family time

Shoppers around the country traditionally wake up well before dawn to get the best deals on Black Friday. However, with more and more retailers opening at midnight this year, some consumers and store employees have had enough.

black friday 2011 family time

Just a few years ago, Black Friday shopping generally started somewhere between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. And then retailers began opening their doors earlier and earlier. This year, most major chains — including Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Target — are opening at midnight. Walmart is opening even earlier at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, while Toys “R” Us opens at 9 p.m.

When will it end? Next year, will you have to leave the house before Thanksgiving dinner to get in line?

Family time is very valuable. If we continue to cut into our holidays with shopping, we will be sending a message to our kids — the wrong one. And though no one is forcing consumers to go shopping, employees have no choice. Midnight (and earlier) store openings rob in-store workers of valuable time with their families.

How early is too early?

Anthony Hardwick, who works at a Target store in Omaha, made news last week by starting an online petition, urging Target to open at 5 a.m. instead of midnight. Hardwick says that he would have to leave Thanksgiving dinner early to get a couple of hours of sleep before starting his 11 p.m. shift on Thanksgiving. To date, the petition has received nearly 150,000 signatures on

Some retailers, such as JC Penney, will continue to open at 4 a.m. on Black Friday. “We wanted to give our associates Thanksgiving Day to spend with their families,” Bill Gentner, senior vice president for marketing, told the NY Times.

We understand the need for stores to be competitive and profitable. Black Friday is the biggest day of the year for many retailers. However, the line has to be drawn at some point. Otherwise, we’ll soon be talking about Black Thursday.

Tell us

Should stores open on Thursday night, or should Black Friday remain on Friday?

More about Black Friday

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Best places to shop for toys on Black Friday

Black Friday shopping tips

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