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Are retailers ruining Thanksgiving by opening early?

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 13 2013 04:06:21 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 14 2013 05:12:12 AM CST

Forget lying on the couch and relaxing after your Thanksgiving meal. How about a shopping spree?

Forget lying on the couch and relaxing after your Thanksgiving meal. How about a shopping spree?

Many stores are opening on Thanksgiving this year, giving shoppers a head start before Black Friday.

Target is one of several stores opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

"It's really just competitive advantage to open an hour earlier," said Jason Baker, who works at Target in South Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co. "Everybody´s opening a little earlier this year. That´s what all the guests want, so we´re giving them what they want, a great shopping experience on Thanksgiving night after dinner. "

"I think it's great for people who have children like myself," said shopper Kim Waislow. "We can put them to bed and then go out and get our shopping done."

She added, "I think it is a bit over the top, but in this day and age of everyone being so busy, I think it's good the stores are open all hours for our convenience." 

"Some people have different schedules as well who work," said Youssef Ibrahim, another shopper. "I think it's a good idea. I have no argument against it." 

Target isn't alone. Sears, Macy's, Kohl's and JC Penney are also opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Walmart and Best Buy are opening at 6 p.m. and K-Mart is opening at 6 a.m. while Old Navy is opening at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Toys R Us will open at 5 p.m.

"Even when you look at when stores opened a little bit later in the night, everyone was out camping out, waiting for the deals anyway at this point so we're getting them out of the cold a little bit earlier," said Baker.

He said several employees volunteered to work overnight.

"Everybody loves being here for that initial rush. We have 900 to 1,000 people out in line every year and it's just crazy the first couple hours of the night, so its a lot of fun," said Baker.

"It's going to make it stressful, I think," said shopper Elizabeth Forrest. "I think it's less relaxing to have your Thanksgiving dinner because everybody's planning." 

The National Retail Federation is estimating shoppers will spend more than $600 billion in November and December. The federation said the average American spent $423 on Black Friday last year.