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Early Christmas retail sales meet mixed reviews heading into Thanksgiving

Monday, November 12, 2012

If you think the holiday shopping frenzy seems to come earlier and earlier every year, you might not be too far off.

In 2011, many giant retailers started Black Friday deals early to get ahead of shoppers in a bad economy.

This year, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Target, Kmart and Sears are among some of the big retailers that will open as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

The announcements have sparked mixed feelings among consumers and employees.

Marc Mendoza of Burbank thinks it's too early to think about Christmas shopping in November, especially while the economy is still in bad shape.

"There are already Christmas trees up," said Mendoza. "With this economy, I don't think people have the money to shop as much as they did in the previous years."

Jennifer Clappin of Tucson, Arizona disagrees. She likes the idea of getting a jump start on her holiday shopping for friends and loved ones.

"They're doing what they need to do," said Clappin. "I like that it's a little bit earlier. I've seen a lot of sales, which is nice. I don't feel like I have to run out right after Thanksgiving and be the first one in line."

According to the National Retail Federation, last year, about a quarter of Black Friday shoppers were already at stores by midnight, most earlier. Retailers are capitalizing on that, although, it's not going over too well with some employees.

Casey Renee, a Target employee, has started "Target: Take the high road and save Thanksgiving," a petition on change.org urging retailers to "give Thanksgiving back to their employees."

Backed by more than 166,000 signatures, Renee calls the Thanksgiving Day openings, "inhumane and inconsiderate."

"I don't understand what their problem is," said Toluca Lake resident Rees Wood, referring to Renee and other employees who claim it's unfair for retailers to ask them to sacrifice their Thanksgiving. "Aren't they glad to have a job?"

Christina Skinner of Tucson, Arizona disagrees with Wood. She doesn't believe Black Friday's madness should begin on Thanksgiving Day.

"It's sad that hundreds of employees don't get the time off to spend with their families," said Skinner. "I think its fine for her to have that petition and say, 'Hey! What about quality time with my family?' That's essentially what the holidays are supposed to be all about."

Target did not want to comment on the petiton. Wal-Mart is also under fire, with some employees threatening to strike.

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