By Caitlin Kelly
The opinions expressed are her own.
Americans shop. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. We’re still an economy powered by consumer spending – 70 percent of it, in fact. It’s an article of faith, for some, that annual Thanksgiving celebrations not only include turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, but lining up in the cold and dark at their favorite store to snag a Black Friday bargain.
Maybe not this year.
Spurred perhaps by the growing national strength of the Occupy Wall Street movement, two emboldened Target workers, Anthony Hardwick, of Omaha, NE and Seth Coleman, a dockworker from Northfield, MN have collected 180,000 signatures protesting their employer’s unprecedented decision to open their stores to shoppers at midnight. Coleman delivered a bag of signatures gathered on-line to Target headquarters in Minneapolis earlier this week.
Coleman will be working at the Target store in Northfield on Thanksgiving Day, from 4 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Then he’ll return 12 hours later, to make sure the shelves are stocked for the company’s first ever midnight opening for the Christmas rush, reported Minnesota Public Radio.
There is also some talk of retail workers taking a sick-out to protest retailers’ demands that they leave their own holiday meals in order to be work by midnight or earlier.
Retailers routinely excuse their escalating demands, such as this year’s ever-earlier Black Friday store openings, because their competitors are doing it. They’ll lose business, they argue, if they don’t follow the herd. Retailers defend all corporate decisions — no matter how detrimental they may be to their indispensible low-wage workers or how unpopular they may be with shoppers newly sensitized to the needs of the 99 percent. Retailers claim it’s alright because they have to protect shareholders’ interests by keeping profits high and hitting their quarterly projections.