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Posted on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

It's official: Black Thursday is the new Black Friday

By Lizzy Alfs


Black Friday shoppers at Target last year load their carts with flat-screen TVs.

Melanie Maxwell |

Remember the days when, after a big Thanksgiving Day dinner, a game of football and some quality family time, you could catch a little shuteye before hitting Black Friday sales early in the morning?

Kiss those days goodbye.

Brick and mortar retailers, in an effort to compete with online shopping giants and bargain-hungry customers, are pulling out all the stops this holiday season to attract shoppers.

And for many big-box stores and malls, that means opening earlier than ever.

Several retailers already have announced plans to open as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, including Walmart, Sears and Toys R Us.


Briarwood Mall shoppers on Black Friday in 2011.

Melanie Maxwell |

Target follows close behind, with plans to open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day — three hours earlier than last year.

For shoppers, that means an early start on Black Friday’s “doorbuster” deals. It also means people could finish their Black Friday shopping before the clock even strikes midnight.

But for employees, it means possibly missing out on Thanksgiving Day festivities and getting stuck with long overnight hours on the holiday.

For that reason, thousands of people petitioned Target last year to get the retailer to cancel its midnight opening for the sake of its employees — but that effort clearly didn’t phase the Minnesota-based retail chain.

In Ann Arbor, Briarwood Mall is planning its earliest Black Friday, with doors opening to shoppers at 12 a.m. In 2011, Macy’s and 21 other Briarwood retailers opened at midnight, while the rest of the shopping center waited until 4 a.m. to open.

Mall manager Ida Hendrix told last year that Black Friday is the mall’s biggest shopping day, with many retailers recording about 30 to 35 percent of their yearly sales from Black Friday until the end of the year.

Other Ann Arbor area retailers, including Best Buy, Old Navy and Kohl's plan to open at midnight. Meijer has Thanksgiving Day hours, but hasn't yet announced its Black Friday plans.

But not all retailers are jumping on the “Black Thursday” bandwagon. Iowa-based department store Von Maur won’t open until 9 a.m. on Black Friday.

“Being non-promotional and staying true to what we do has been successful for us,” Iowa-based marketing manager Amy Davis told in 2009. “… There’s no need to change that strategy. We think customers appreciate that. It sounds like a simple approach, but it works for us.”

Office Depot, which opened at 4 a.m. last year, is planning on a 5 a.m. opening on Friday this year. Meanwhile, the new Costco Warehouse store in Pittsfield Township will open at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

"It's Official: Black Thursday is the New Black Friday". AKA It's Official: Americans are ridiculous and need to get a life! Stores are only caving to consumer greed. If you ditch out on your family to buy stuff on Thanksgiving, then your priorities are off...


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

We go through this every year and it seems to get worse each passing year. I have never been interested in shopping on Black Friday, the less crowds the more enjoyable my shopping experience. But, to each their own.

Paul Wiener

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

Much as I'd love to, there's no point in excoriating businesses whose job is to perpetrate greed, aggression, competition, and a valueless, infinitely anxious, stressed social fabric. As long as people - "consumers" - patronize these stores how and when they do, and mindlessly, compulsively purchase garbage, celebrating only themselves, we will continue to have the world we do. My prediction: it will never be different, change, or improve. Ann Arbor has nothing on the world it loves to feel superior to.

Boo Radley

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Black Friday shopping used to be a fun experience ... Getting up early, getting to the chosen store by 6am and chatting with other cheerful shoppers while waiting for the store to open and taking advantage of some really good discounts. Then going out for a nice breakfast. After a couple of years of that, the crowd of waiting shoppers became cold, surly and sleep deprived people who had been in line starting at Midnight or 2am. Trying to shop once allowed in the store became a very unpleasant experience with a crowd of very unpleasant fellow shoppers. So, we haven't partiiciipated in a number of years. It became too much for us long before this idea of starting on Thanksgiving Day.

Boo Radley

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

"partiiciipated" .... sorry ... the "i" key on my laptop has a tendency to do that and I don't always notice.

Marie Willnow

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

I've never understood the whole Black Friday thing. I've got better things to do at 4 a.m. then wait in a line in the cold for some "great sale." It's called sleep.

Nic F.

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

@djacks24 being a nurse is a lot more rewarding then selling jeans and tee shirts

Kyle Nemmeyer

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

I won't be shopping at any retailer who wreaks havoc on their employees holiday. And these are stores I would normally shop at. Not this year.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

You won't be shopping at a lot of places. :)


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Shopping is a bit like dating. And this level of desperation is simply unattractive - for the businesses and consumers.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Now Thanksgiving dinner is being replaced with Thanksgiving shopping.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

Not to me it ain't!!! disgusting.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

I don't see what the big deal is about working on Thanksgiving. My mother was a nurse for over 30 years. I remember many holidays my entire life having our get-togethers on alternative days. I had a job doing tech support and I remember at least one Thanksgiving and Xmas I had to work.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

Agreed that some jobs have a NEED for work on holidays. However, we NEED nurses, not consumables.

Steve Bean

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

This isn't greed but desperation. We'll see more of it in the next few years along with more retail businesses closing.

Nic F.

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

I have had to work on thanksgiving on multiple times, It is incredibly awful to say the least. It's even worse when your far away from your family for school. A lot a companies other then retail outfits are starting to do stay open on Thanksgiving JUST to make a small profit, because honestly it is never THAT busy. It's like an average, but with more sadness and empty stomachs.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

This is raw capitalism run amok. Stampedes, pepper spray and terrible aggressive behavior on the part of these Thanksgiving sales participants should keep civilized people far far away from stores on these shopping days. Can't wait for the headlines about more people being trampled, injured and even killed due to the animal behavior of these shoppers.

Tom Teague

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

Oh good! Now I can get an earlier start in adding to the US Trade Deficit!


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

Here's a question for store managers, especially at Briarwood. How many managers will work, or are scheduled to work, a shift of at least 20 hours? If a manager does, and if they are salary, is there any special compensation they will receive for this unusual shift? I can't see the retailers allowing extra hiring to cover for these horrible hours at Briarwood.

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

Black Thursday/Black Friday: a testament to greed. I'd rather pay twice the retail price than to fight crowds and stand in line for an hour and a half to get $25 off of a TV. Internet shopping is best. I can do it at 10 AM, while wearing my PJ's and sipping a coffee, warm and content in my own house.

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

@djacks.....Absolutely! And, how can you go wrong with having things delivered directly to you? No need to ever leave the house! lol


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

I hate to say it, but I'm utilizing my free 2 day shipping on my Amazon Prime account more often than ever. Saves time, saves gas, no sales tax...yet, but still can get most items cheaper.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

I have been saying for a couple of years, why not do this on Wednesday night? It is the biggest bar night of the year because people don't have to work the next day. Why not beat the competition by doing it on Wednesday night? Some or most will shop on Wednesday night instead of Friday early am I would think.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Our Thanksgiving is a family day...AKA a non-shopping day. How about others?


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Me too. In fact I never have been convinced to do this black Friday thing. One time the wife and I set out early to Meijers because they had HD Tvs for a ridiculously low price. Turned out that each store only had a few, 8 to 12. So one Meijers had a line that started at 6 pm the night before, another did a lottery which really ticked off the people who came in early. Won't do it again, just not worth it.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

I agree, @Paul Haynes. Thanksgiving has always been a family day for me, too. Until I became a business reporter! :)


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

If shoppers didn't treat Black (Thursday) Friday like a holiday it wouldn't be a problem. Unlike the government, businesses only give shoppers what they want. That's how they make money. The massive turnout for these events shows the stark truth, it's the shoppers who are greedy.

average joe

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

With the exception of the employees of these stores, nobody is forcing anyone to be at these stores at these hours.....


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Why even wait until 8:00 to open? Might as well start the sale at noon. lol


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Because that would conflict with add revenue from the football games.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Sickening, but just as pigs will eat anything you through to them, people will show up for any gimmicky sale.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

through = throw

Top Cat

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Time to just say NO!


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

If I was hurting for cash, I would welcome the OT.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

discgolfgeek, are you kidding?!?! most retailers, particularly walmart(whose name I refuse to dignify with capital letters)Will Go Out Of Their Way to tweak the schedule, and staff, in order to ensure that no one even comes CLOSE to getting 40 hours, let alone(gasp!!!!)overtime.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

I would not work for a company that did not pay OT when they make you work on a holiday.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

You're assuming that the schedule isn't adjusted so that no OT is needed. If people would just stop and think about the impact they are instilling on these poor workers, maybe they would realize that the stores could open at normal hours on Friday and still have the same sales. It is called CORPORATE GREED.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Yes. It is a sad testament that we have a consumption driven economy and that ANY non-traditional work-day (Holiday or weekend) becomes yet another day to shop. We, then, sanctimoniously lament the demise of traditional families, family values, and rampant deficit spending. Respectfully shared, Sincerely, Lester "Les" Stough

4 Fingers

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Pathetic. I hope they lose their collective you know whats.

Balthazar Tarantula

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

It's unfortunate that stores are so greedy, they'll deprive workers of enjoying a traditional time of relaxation to make a few bucks.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

I'm so glad I don't work in retail anymore.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Right about the demand. If there is little or no demand (especially after being enticed with lower prices) then they wouldn't bother opening on Thursday. Also, if you accept a job in retail like this, expect that you may have to work holidays like this.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Remember "guns don't kill people..."? Stores don't do anything. Corporations just react to market demand. See those suckers in that picture loading up on those cheap HDTVs (which I'm sure they already have more than a few HDTVs in their house)? All I'm saying is, takes two to tango.