POSTED: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 1:25pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 10:26am
The trend for stores to open earlier and earlier to take advantage of Black Friday sales, even to the point of opening in the evening on Thanksgiving Day, has prompted an online petition drive to give Thanksgiving back to employees and their families.
An online petition asking Target to not open on Thanksgiving has over 179,000 signatures, and the number continues to rise.
Indeed, "Black Friday," which traditionally started in the pre-dawn hours of "Friday," has seen its hours pushed back in recent years so that stores start offering savings on the Thursday night before.
Online petition started, Casey St Clair says "Target can take the high road and save Thanksgiving for employees like me and our families by saying no to "Thanksgiving Creep."
However, retailers say that's exactly what they heard from their customers. Duncan Mac Naughton from Wal Mart says "our customers want to come in early, and want to go to bed early, and shop early. So, it's eating your Thanksgiving dinner, it's doing the dishes and then it's get some exercise at WalMart."
Target spokesperson Molly Snyder told NBC News in a statement that "Target's opening time was carefully evaluated with our guests, team and businesses in mind." Snyder also says that Target employees receive time and a half pay for working national holidays and many are excited at the opportunity to work extra hours.
Since her petition went viral, Casey has been told she does not have to work Thanksgiving if she doesn't want to.
This year, Walmart, Toys 'R Us, Kmart, and Sears are all opening their doors at 8 pm. Together with Target, that's two to four hours before they kicked things off last year.