The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Outdoors

November 13, 2012

Daily discussion: Retail workers struggle with early holiday sale kickoff

In the mad rush to beat out other department stores in the battle for Black Friday, businesses are leaving more and more of their employees seeing another color entirely.

Red.

Retail workers are starting to fight back as big-brand stores such as Target and Walmart announce earlier-than-ever opening hours as they usher in seasonal sales Thanksgiving night through early Friday morning.

Target is targeting a 9 p.m. opening. Walmart and ToysRUs plan to kick things off at 8 p.m.

More than 170,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that stores scale back the early start times and wait until more traditional Friday morning openings.

But will it really matter? When stores are offering short-window sales such as 32-inch televisions for $147 and popular toys at a fraction of their normal selling price, even the most passive soccer mom can quickly morph into a warrior preparing for battle.

The iconic fued over the last Tickle Me Elmo doll on major markdown only emphasizes to major store chains just how obsessed people can be about finding the best deal, and to what extremes they’ll go to get little Jimmy that GI Joe or Suzy her La La Loopsy.

As people wonder why so many families are crumbling, we find ourselves in a high-stakes environment that loves to suck the marrow out of every moment of family time. Thanksgiving shopping deals. Holiday sports tournaments that have families racing all over the area for basketball games, wrestling matches and other extracurricular activities. When will it all stop?

Probably the moment we learn to say no. To boycott the infringement on family time. If stores force their employees to race into work earlier Thanksgiving day only to find an empty parking lot when the big hour of sales begin … than maybe, just maybe we can curb the trend.

Or else we may soon be doing our Black Friday shopping heading into Labor Day weekend or right after catching Fourth of July fireworks.

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