Black Friday Becomes Black Thursday: Is It Time To Bring Blue Laws Back?

Photo of crowd of people pushing to get in store

Remember when stores weren’t open on Sundays or holidays? Was that really such a bad thing?

I know it got tiresome not being able to shop on Sunday, so I’m not saying we should go back to exactly that. But, this year’s retail Black Friday madness makes me think we need to figure out a new way.

Every year on Black Friday, stores try to outdo each other—opening earlier and earlier. Last year, the earliest opening in my area was at midnight. Most stores opened at 3am, one or two might have opened at 1am, and the Philadelphia Premium Outlets opened at midnight.

Is this really necessary?

Last year, I think midnight was pretty well accepted because it was a novelty. The outlets were still relatively new, so people seemed excited about staying up and heading off to the outlets. The problem with it was that we knew it wouldn’t stop there. It didn’t.

Here are just a few examples of Black Friday start times for this year:

Store Time Day
Kohl’s, Target, Best Buy Midnight Black Friday
Rockvale Outlets Lancaster 10pm Thanksgiving
Toys”R”Us, Philadelphia Premium Outlets 9pm Thanksgiving

Call me a traditionalist, but isn’t Thanksgiving night reserved for bars? Most people either go home and sleep off their turkey dinner or escape their family and go out for a drink with friends.

Not only will the retail workers have to cut their holiday short, but they’ll likely be dealing with drunk shoppers too.

People, it’s time to fight back.

Image from Target petition

Anthony Hardwick, a Target employee, started a petition on to get Target to change their plans for Black Friday. That took guts because he put his job at risk to do so, and the likelihood that Target will change is pretty slim. He’s getting a ton of media coverage and inspiring others to start their own petitions.

Customers might not understand this. After all, plenty of people think it’s okay to walk into a store one minute before closing and expect the workers to wait for them to shop to start closing. There’s not a lot of respect given to retail workers, but there should be.

Retail workers are some of the most poorly treated in this country—many by their employers and most by their customers. They work hard for low pay and deserve to have Thanksgiving off. It’s called a holiday for a reason, and it’s called Black FRIDAY for a reason. There’s really no reason to open the stores until Friday, preferably 5 or 6am Friday.

There’s just no need, especially with the proliferation of Internet and mobile shopping. If stores want to start their sales early with gimmicky Black Friday promotions, find creative ways to integrate these online forms of shopping and let your employees sleep in.

They’ll need their strength—to clean up after the customers that charge through the store like they’ve just been told there’s a million dollars hidden somewhere inside.

Disagree with me? Then, I urge you to work retail for one Christmas season. You really have to experience it to understand how unfair and unnecessary these Black Friday changes are and how much these workers deserve a break and deserve your respect.

And hey, speaking of respect, please, don’t talk on your cell phone while the cashier is checking you out. Remember, that’s a human being in front of you, please treat him or her like one.



  1. Kristine Elkins · November 22, 2011

    Hear, hear!!

  2. Pingback: Holiday Thoughts for Marketers and Consumers | In the crowds

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