Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, Target and other retailers plan on opening their doors late Thanksgiving evening — kicking off Black Friday a day early and giving thanks for shoppers.
Black Friday mania is seeping into Thanksgiving Day. The Gap will be opening at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart is opening at 10 p.m. Toys "R" Us will open at 9 p.m, and several other stores will open at midnight Thursday evening, including Target, Best Buy, Kohl's and Macy's.
Macy's plans to open its stores at midnight for the first time ever, responding to building pressure. Macy's store manager Karin Washington said that during the holidays, every item in her store sells.
"I've worked in retail for the majority of my life," Washington said, "and so I am often intrigued by what interests people. And there's a customer for everything."
According to ShopperTrak, which monitors customer traffic and sales at 25,000 stores nationwide, Black Friday has been the top sales day every year but one since it started monitoring holiday data in 2002; the only exception was in 2004, when the busiest day was the Saturday before Christmas.
Not everybody is looking forward to the shopping day. Target employee Anthony Harwick began circulating a petition on Tuesday to push back against the big box store's plans for a Thursday midnight opening. He collected nearly 200,000 signatures and was still going.
"A full holiday with family is not just for the elite of this nation — all Americans should be able to break bread with loved ones and get a good night's rest on Thanksgiving!" he wrote in the petition. "Join me in calling for Target retail stores to push back their original opening time of 5 a.m. on Black Friday."
"Black Friday is one of the busiest and most competitive shopping days of the year," Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target, told ABC News in an email. "Target does our best to work around the schedules of all of our team members, making every effort to accommodate their requests."
Hardwick called Snyder's comments "bologna" and said that "no one in retail requests Black Friday off and gets it."
Meanwhile, Occupy movements nationwide have challenged customers to rethink their shopping habits — in some cases, threatening to occupy shopping malls and chain stores.
In Seattle, protesters are carpooling to Walmart stores to protest. Washington, D.C. is letting people donate unneeded items so "customers" of their "Occupy Black Friday" can shop for free.
Meanwhile, protesters in Boise, Idaho plan to send "consumer zombies" to wander around a local mall, and the Des Moines, Iowa group plans flash mobs at three malls.