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Monday, November 21, 2011

Target Employee Petitions Against Early Black Friday Opening

Anthony Hardwick, a part-time employee at a north Omaha Target store, poses for a photo in front of his place of employment. (AP)

Anthony Hardwick, a part-time employee at a north Omaha Target store, poses for a photo in front of his place of employment. (AP)

This year stores like Toys “R” Us, Kohl’s and Target are rolling out Black Friday deals early –some as soon as 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.

Target, which will open at midnight, says that they’re responding to customers who’ve said they like to shop at night more than waking up early to wait in line.

But some employees are frustrated to see work cut into their Thanksgiving. Employee Anthony Hardwick says that when he was asked to come in at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day he realized that to get enough sleep to start his work day then, he’d have to go to bed at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

He started the “Tell Target to Save Thanksgiving” petition on the website change.org and has collected more than 190,000 signatures.

“I was a little disappointed that we were opening that early. Please, just give us this one day to spend with our family,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.


  • Anthony Harwick, an employee of the Target in Omaha, Nebraska

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Anonymous

    “Be grateful you have a job.” shouldn’t be the response every time there is a new corporate outrage against workers.

  • kris357

    Mr. Harwick was never scheduled to work on Black Friday.  He requested the day off so he could spend time with his family well in advance of the holiday.
    Shame on him…and he should  be happy his active status of employment at an at-will employer has not been terminated for all fo the crappy press that he’s stirred up.

    • brent

      Every employee in retail is schedules to work the day after Thanksgiving. No one gets the day off.

      • Shelby

        Not everyone is scheduled to work, you just need to be open to work this day.  If you are scheduled to work and don’t want to you can post your shift and someone will pick it up.  And,  no one was forced to work at midnight either, they asked who wanted to work at that time and there were plenty of team members willing to work.  If he had asked for the day off and was given it off he should consider himself lucky and be thankful for that.  There are people out there with no job that would love to work any day!

        • Sarah

          Apparently there are plenty of jobs at Target and the retail industry… so all these people who “would love to work anyday” should apply for a holiday position in retail, prove their work ethic, and get picked up to work non-seasonal as well. 

  • Alice Vanhorssen

    I don’t shop on those busy days anyway but this is a retail environment geared toward the customer. Many people work on holidays. My husband worked for the airlines for many years and worked every Christmas that fell on his regular day to work. My older children still talk about how they had to wait to open their presents until dad got home from work. It wasn’t great but we lived through it.

  • J Smith

    Whatever the story may be, if he was scheduled to work or not (cover-up story or not a cover-up story that Target sent to Media)..it’s not the point of his message . Mr. Harwick is looking out for all employees, especially those scheduled to work instead of spending time with their own family. He has a great heart! Just because he started a petition doesn’t give Target the right to fire him. He is just voiceing his opinion and as you can see Kris357, there are many that feel the same. Unlike, you. So, actually shame on you for even making that comment.  Great job, Anthony and I hope Target does decide to re-think opening so early and let their employees have a Happy Thanksgiving with their family!

    • Lynbra

      he should just be glad  to have a job    Their are alot of people   that would love   to have his  job   no matter what time   it is   It is not like  he would  not get to not spend the day with his family   I have in the past had to work the whole day of thanksgiving   and I was just blessed to have had the job   He is a very selfish person

      • Kurnytagirl2

        What are you thinking?
         In 1963 I accepted a job that paid less then minimum wage because it was the only place that I could find that would hire a young single mother of two and. Like you, I was glad to get the job. It took only a few months for the skin on my fingers to fall off to the point that I could no longer change the pins on my baby’s diaper and could no longer do the job. I was fired. Unemployment was denied to me because the company claimed that my epoxy coated fingers were caused by hair dye.
        It is very sad for me to realize that there are people like you still out there. People who are so desperate that they will tolerate all forms of abuse and injustice to keep a job. . . And are greateful for the little tosed at them.  It wad suggested to me that “you’re young, you’re pretty, surely you can make money somehow”, “hooking” was not and option I wanted to consider.
        But, sweet Lynbra, you are selling your body and skills to your employer. Don’t sell yourself short. Start fighting for the benefits and pay you deserve instead of being “Grateful” for the crumbs you are thrown. If you will stand up for others, you may be surprised at how many others will stand up for you.

    • JTM

      It is awfully presumptive of both J Smith and Mr. Harwick to assume that other employees would share the objection to working on Thursday.  We are not big holiday people (and being non-religious often don’t celebrate in the same time/way as others) so I jump at the chance to work holidays and get holiday pay.  I am currently in health care, but it was the same when I worked retail years ago…. holiday pay on Thanksgiving, no holiday pay the day after.  Additionally I’m not much of a morning person and would much prefer to put in my time Thursday afternoon/night for Mr. Harwick and he can take my 5am Friday morning shift – that’s the way it works.

      I am all over the abuse of corporate power – but sorry, this just isn’t it.

  • Lynbra

    i think the gentleman that wanted to petition  target about the time they worked   has alot of nerve   He should be grateful  to even have a job   I would not want him to be working for me.   I  as a customer   am thankful  that they are opening up  when they are    The time is so much better  
    The guy   is a real jerk

    • wiser

      @ Lynbra- The “guy” is not a jerk. He is a person with a strong sense of right and wrong. You show little to no compassion for the employees and their families, who rightly want to enjoy a Holiday and have some rest. I think the people out of balance are the shoppers who can’t take a day off from pursuing their materialistic impulses. The consumers and retailers have a skewed sense of what is important in life.

    • Alecead

      so you want these workers to have less time with their families because of your shopping needs? I think you really need to re-think who the selfish one is….. Remember the holidays are meant to be family time not corporate greed or your gluttony of sales items

  • Bert

    It’s not just against the workers. Why should I have to cut my time short with family to catch some sleep before I have to be at the store at midnight to get in on the “deals” they are offering.  Its just their greed that is driving the decision not their consideration for “people who like to shop at night”, thats just a smoke screen.  I’m sure they did their research and found that other stores that opened before them last year got customers they wanted.  I’m boycotting them and others opening at an unreasonable time; there are other stores who don’t have this kind of disregard for the customer or for the holidays and time with family.

    • Dajervu

      bert just be grateful that you have a job. otherwise you would have plenty of time to be with your family and away from your ungrateful employer

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5TMI4OH3LC4DHXBON4DCWTSG4E Bill K

    AWESOME!      By the way, why do they call it Black Friday if it starts on thursday?!?
       Maybe  next year,  TARGET doors can open at 8 in the MORNING on Thanksgiving Day !

  • Allgoodspin

    Get another job? For those of us who have worked in Retail and Restaurants all our life…Holidays are part of the Deal…and when our companies make a LOT of money…I’m surprised they even close at all. 
    Part-Time Employee…Hardwick is the FACE of what’s wrong with our country…nobody wants to work….and they want something for free. I hope Target fires him…It’ll make room for somebody who is grateful to have a job.

  • Shawn Fowler


    This guy is ridiculous! There are so many people who would love to have a job to go to on any Friday period! This part- time job that HE applied for allowed him to purchase his fiancé ring whom he is whining about not being able to spend Thanksgiving day with! Big deal get over it! Target could have asked their employees to work at 11:00 am and he would not have been able to eat Thanksgiving dinner with his family at all! He is totally ungrateful! It was a choice for him to work at Target, no one made him. All the people who are signing his lousy petition will be at Target on Black Friday shopping and saving their butts off. In the end I pray Target fires him!

    • LITTLEMAN081


  • Sarah

    For those who say this guy is an ungrateful jerk… What would happen if we asked Bankers, accountants, and anyone else in the business field to open up and work on the holiday?!  Complete upheaval!  What would be the point of there even being a “holiday”?   It’s not a matter of being ungrateful for his job, it’s a matter of the national holiday.  Everyone should be able to enjoy it how they please.  If you want to go shopping instead of spending time with your families, shop online.  I realize Black Friday shopping is a tradition for some families, but in order for them to enjoy that tradition, others may have to give up their traditions to be at the store to work.  PROTECT THANKSGIVING!

    • Pullthegoalie2000

      No one asked the stores to open up. No one would go to the bank or to an accountant so there is no demand for it. this is a free country and if you do not like a job you have the choice to go find another. You can also create your own business and set your own hours. Sarah you are wrong. You act like people were pulled off the street and forced to work it.

  • gep

    Good for you, Anthony Harwick, for standing up for Thanksgiving. I’m sorry that so many retail employees have limited time with their families so that stores like Target and Walmart can open early.  Thanksgiving is one of the holidays left that celebrates families and now greed is trying to take that away. 
    Maybe if everyone stayed away from these stores, maybe they would re-think it for next year. I sure hope so…

  • Littleman081

    i agree with not giving up thanksgiving day to the all mighty dollar we can make for the owners.  they are pretty sorry that they cannot give 2 days out of 365 days a year to spend with family. thanksgiving and christmas ar the 2 most valuable holidays that we give time to our families. i believe that the corporation have forgotten about the employees who made them rich. because without us employees you all would be nothing.  let see  the corporations live from paycheck to paycheck from week to week and try and make ends meet.  the corporations give us just enough to starve. they have no compassion and i knoe they don’t have no heart. because if they did they would pay us employees what we are worth and not just what they can squeeze by us by law. and now fast food has joined in this rat race. opening all day on thanksgiving should make the owners worked side by side us on this holiday in the stores but i bet they will be home lounging  around telling themselves what fools they have working for them, and how they screw us, by what they make us do to keep a job. it is really sorry that they should by law pay time and half or double time and a half. how many do you think would open if they had to fork over more money?  take a guess. but i bet they would rethink holidays. so congress please make a law that protects the little people like the employees make a law to pay time and half or double time and a half  to employees that work on holidays.

  • RoseMary Dunn

    I will not be shopping at Target this season. I will not knowingly be shopping at any major store that does not appreciate it’s customers or workers by allowing them time with their families on holidays.
    There will always be impulsive/compulsive people who can not control their urges.
    I believe Target is taking advantage of those who have this disorder. Their need for profit could have waited one more day.
    Shame on Target! And on all the other greedy businesses that are joining in on this pathetic practice.

  • Sweet Honesty

    Hey people, is not about being grateful for having a job or not, it is about GIVING THANKS TO GOD for all that He has done for us and what a better way to do so by enjoying a nice homecooked meal and spending QUALITY TIME WITH THE FAMILY, but I think that those of you who think this guy is ridiculuos and ungrateful are probably just unloved and lonely people who are only concerned about money and gifts.  So sad.  Yes, times are tough but it doesn’t mean we have to work like animals and ignore our role as a parent, son, daughter, brother or sister, etc.  May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

    • anonymous

      People like me who think this guy is ungrateful are NOT only concerned with money or gifts! My husband was a cop for many years and gave up countless holidays to protect people like you while you celebrate with your families. We never once complained because we understood why he had to go. What about military families who don’t get to see their loved ones at all, let alone on Thanksgiving!? And right now my father is unemployed and I have to watch my parents struggle each and everyday because of that. He would give anything to have that guy’s job! And if he had it, I guarantee you that neither he nor my mother would be complaining about him having to work on Thanksgiving. Instead they would be giving thanks that they were so fortunate to have a job this year to even pay for a Thanksgiving dinner. On this day of giving thanks, this guy should be counting his blessings and remembering all those people who give up not only their holiday but risk their lives (and some give their lives) each and everyday for people like him. And trust me, none of these people are “ignoring their roles as parents, brothers, etc”. They are taking care of their children and keeping yours safe as well.

  • Former Customer!

    I am disgusted by these stores.  It’s just a move toward keeping stores open on all holidays in the future.  Totally unnecessary.  It’s greed and a disrespect toward working people, families, traditions…holidays… I will not shop at any of the stores forcing their workers to show up at midnight.  This is ridiculous–and I urge everyone to spread the word and lay a line in the sand for working people.  What’s next?  No bathroom breaks during a sale?  Shame on these retailers for taking advantage of bad economic times to make people feel grateful for an underpaid retail job and to take away from their holiday. 

  • Former Customer!

    I am disgusted by these
    stores. It’s just a move toward keeping stores open on all holidays in the
    future. Totally unnecessary. It’s greed and a disrespect toward working people,
    families, traditions…holidays… I will not shop at any of the stores forcing
    their workers to show up at midnight. This is ridiculous–and I urge everyone
    to spread the word and lay a line in the sand for working people. What’s next?
    No bathroom breaks during a sale? Shame on these retailers for taking advantage
    of bad economic times to make people feel grateful for an underpaid retail job
    and to take away from their holiday.


    Last year we had friends over for Thanksgiving dinner.  I had to leave our guests and excuse myself  to bed at 7 p.m. so I could be up at 2 a.m.   This year I have to be up at 1 a.m.  What will it be next year ?   I don’t see Corporate types standing at the doors welcoming customers at these ungodly hours.   Lead by example, or give us all the same opportunity to enjoy the holidays  !!!

  • Ricki_lynn_miller

    I grew up in a small town where the streets rolled up at 6pm, and the stores were closed on Sundays. I grew up with Love and Appreciationg for the shop keepers who allowed their families time to spend together; for family dinners or holiday gatherings. We learned to shop when the stores were open.
    Now years later I am increasing disheartened that in an effort to make a Buck, the Major chain stores have gone from Opening at 6am on Black Friday, to Midnight on Thanksgiving, now to being Open on Thanksgiving. Seriously, does any of us need to shop that Badly?  I worked for years in the Retail industry and for a major store (“W”). I have just in the last few years not dreaded Christmas, because of the same issues that Mr. Hardwick is facing now.
    “Once you let the Moster out of his cage, you’ll never get him back in it again”.  

  • K Soultz

    I agree with Anthony in support of keeping the holiday to its meaning and purpose. This is just another way that most of society falls prey to “man’s traditions”. Great to see there are still some holding on to the true spirit of the season.


    Call the Home office Monday and talk to the CEO, their direct lines are easy to find.  Tell the CEO that employees as well as customers feel unappreciated.  I do not usually shop Target, I shop dollar stores, and spend my money on 8 Track tapes. Target does not carry 8 Track Tapes anymore, so I do not shop there.

  • Perspective….

    I’m not very fond of Black Friday.. in fact I think the hours stores keep are ridiculous.  But listening to this young man compare having to go to bed at 2 pm to make it to his shift to children working in coal mines was… well, I guess I’m glad hyperbole hasn’t died out.  I’m a nurse.  I’ve worked holidays as an aid as well.  Am I comparing the importance of getting those doorbuster deals to taking care of ill patients?  Of course not – all these stores should be ashamed, the way they’re fanning these flames with the earlier and earlier sales.  But there is something to be said for the “be thankful you have a job.”  I have literally been s#$% on for not much more pay that this guy is making to stand at a cash register and act civil one crazy shift.   And how about actual modern coal miners, whose hours do include all hours of the clock, seven days a week even today, to bring us the electricity that allowed this guy to broadcast his outrage?   I agree that the retail stores are been a bit silly, but let’s get some perspective.

  • Justwheler

    Customers can wait till black Friday and give retail employees a break!!! They treat retail employees like crap!! Retail employees have families too.. The major retailers are opening early to one up each other and dont care about employees!

  • Anonymous

    “Target, which will open at midnight, says that they’re responding to customers who’ve said they like to shop at night more than waking up early to wait in line.” 

    Wait, people don’t want to get up to go shopping?  Who is making them go shopping at this
    time?  NO ONE.  I think it is ridiculous to complain
    about shopping, something that you do not even NEED to do while workers HAVE to
    work their holiday night just keep their jobs and to cater to your growing
    complaints about, “Getting up to go shopping.”  Everyone wants to spend time with their familes,
    Thanksgiving is the ONE day out of the year made just for that. College kids
    are a majority of retail workers who have to cut their already short holidays,
    even shorter, (especially when some can only come maybe two times out of 4
    months), just to set up for stores opening at midnight now. Shoppers who are
    causing the hours to be pushed back, (who just got to eat and enjoy time with
    THEIR families), do need to be consciously aware that they just made someone
    else sacrifice what they just got to enjoy, and all of this is just to go
    shopping?!  What a shame.

  • MichelleB

    Some of us are lucky enough to have a warm home, family, friends, etc
    and with that the money to go shopping on Black Friday. The way that we
    earn the money to do all of those things is because of the jobs that we
    have – the jobs that we chose. Those jobs didn’t choose us. We sent
    in a resume, filled out an application,
    went on an interview and said, “Hey, this is where I want to spent my
    time however many hours a day and in return I’m going to earn
    compensation back from that company.” So it boggles my mind that this
    person, Anthony Hardwick, knowing where he works, has the audacity to
    sit there with his arms crossed because heaven forbid the company he
    works for is actually open on Black Friday to service their customers.
    Isn’t that was Target and so many of these other companies do? Provide a
    service. I say shame on Anthony Hardwick and every one of the
    employees of Target who decided to sign their name to that petition.
    You should be thankful to have a job and be courteous to every person
    who walks through those doors at midnight tonight because they are
    paying for you to be there. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

  • Dajervu

    Antony Harwick is a punk just look at him arms crossed yah your bad.  Probably works at wallmart as a greeter as his other part time job. Anthony if you do not like working for the big red leave and we will be seeing you holding a sign at the street corner saying im bad

  • Pullthegoalie2000

    You are jackass. police, firefighters doctors,military, and many other do not get the day off either. They are not complaining. As a police officer I remember getting the family up at 3:00 AM for a quick Christmas morning because I had to work a double shift on Christmas. Think of those who do not have a job. I am sure there are many others that will take your job if you do not want it. I think Target should fire you for this stunt. Be glad you live in a free country where YOU can choose if you work on Thanks Giving or not. You had your 15 minutes and you are now known across the country as the biggest ungrateful whiner in the country. 

  • respect the turkey

    I heard Anthony Hardwick speak on the radio the other day –  his comments were intelligent and he was very well spoken.  His petition is not malicious or unreasonable, only asking Target to respect the family time on this holiday.  I disagree with the “be thankful you have a job philosophy”, believe it breeds abuse by suggesting you just take whatever treatment mgmt doles.  Also, a minimum wage job is not really comparable to a profession such as police officer, nurse or others who provide necessary services 24/7.  Making/saving a buck is not necessary on a holiday.
    ok, back to my turkey – got distracted, actually came to here and now for turkey tips.
    well, first I’m going to take a sec to sign the petition.

  • Rosie Virginia

    As a former hospital employee, I have worked many holidays.  That is nature of the job, and staffing is minimal.  Doctors are not scheduling surgeries on Thanksgiving.  Retail clerks do not expect to work 24/7/365 when they are hired.   Is the CEO of these stores working 8 hours starting  11:00 PM Thanksgiving?   If he/she is working, it will be on a computer from home office.    Chik-fil-A succeeds even being closed on Sundays.   

  • Stan

    One could say that Anthony should be happy to have a job at all.
    But on the other hand, many businesses continue to “milk” all they can out of less and less employees they do have.
    And with wages near stagnant for many, what a cheap form of slavery.

    In the past few years, NPR, Marketplace and several business web sites have written about how cheap overall the labor is on the planet.
    Never in history can the ruling elite get such cheap labor, while they rake in the big profits.

    Some of you people need to look at the big picture.

    Labor creates ALL WEALTH.

  • Abigails2015

    I think the time on black friday should change back to at least 5 a.m.

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