A decade ago, Black Friday began Friday at 5 a.m., which meant that super bargain hunters had to start lining up in the wee hours of Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
About three or four years ago, many stores began pushing up their opening hours to Thanksgiving night at midnight.
It wasn't too bad, and in fact, many shoppers liked the change. It meant you didn't have to stay up all night, but could start lining up around 10 p.m., and be home in bed by 2 a.m.
But in the past two years, a curious thing happened: stores began opening even earlier, turning their Black Friday sales into "Black Thursday" sales, with many now opening while the pumpkin pie is still on the Thanksgiving table.
8 p.m. the new "normal"
For Black Friday 2012, most of the biggest stores have moved up their hours:
- Walmart opens its doors at 8 p.m, with most deals starting at 10:00 p.m.
- Sears and Kmart start their deals at 8 p.m. as well (Kmart has been open for a few hours Thanksgiving day for years).
- Target gives shoppers an extra hour to finish their turkey, opening at 9 p.m.
- Best Buy and Kohl's are looking positively old fashioned, with its midnight opening.
But some employees and shoppers are fighting back. A petition on Change.org is asking stores to "save Thanksgiving," by rethinking their plans and pushing their opening hours back.
But the big retailers are unlikely to change their plans at this late date. Walmart even says its early open is due to shopper requests, not any attempt to make employees work a longer day.
And Target points out everyone who works Thanksgiving night will earn time-and-a-half pay, with some other perks thrown in.
For now, an early Black Friday stays. Hate the idea? Stay home, and spend the evening with your family. If enough people do that, stores may change their hours next year.
As always, don't waste your money.
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