Black Friday creeps into Thanksgiving and employees are protesting the early opening times

Leaked Black Friday ads have been a tradition for years. Now, retailers like Walmart and Target are posting their own ads ahead of the shopping holiday. The sales start early this year and some workers are not happy about it.

The unofficial start to the holiday shopping season is called Black Friday, but this year it's getting a makeover as the shopping season kicks off four hours before Friday starts.

The shopping on Thanksgiving is now dubbed "Gray Thursday" and "Black Friday Creep."

Whatever you call the earlier opening times, they're sparking debate online with the employees who have to work. Some workers are not happy they have to give up their turkey dinner to run the registers and open the doors to early bird shoppers.

Online petitions to stop the early opening times were popular last year too, but the stores still opened. Retailers didn't seem phased by the online debate because this year, stores are opening earlier.

Toys "R" Us, Kmart and Walmart are opening at 8 p.m. and Target at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This year, more than 20 new online petitions were started on Change.org to stop the early opening times.

Walmart employees are even threatening to strike.

Experts predict it would take something drastic to spark any change.

Lindsay Sakraida is the Features Director at Dealnews.com , a website that watches and alerts shoppers to the hot sales. She said retailers are doing this in response to consumer desire.

"Most people tend to be done with their meal by 8 or 9 p.m., instead of having to go to sleep and set an alarm at 4 a.m. and wait in line with people, they find it more manageable," Sakraida said. "I think a lot of people will shop until they drop and be in bed about 3 a.m. The time they were getting up in previous years."

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