Smacking down the Target workers (5×8 – 11/23/11)

Just be glad you have a job, the great sleepover debate, why you shouldn’t deep-fry the turkey in the house, should there be religion at a holiday display in Duluth, and the art of writing backwards.


1) STRIB TO MIDNIGHT WORKERS: ‘BE GLAD YOU HAVE A JOB’

Most newspaper editorials these days are so tepid they’re hardly worth reading and certainly aren’t capable of stirring public debate. Today’s Star Tribune editorial isn’t one of them. The Star Tribune jumped into the debate over whether stores should open at midnight tomorrow night and require employees to give up part of their Thanksgiving to go to work. Tact was not part of the message.


.. complaining about work hours is grossly self-indulgent.

Many unemployed workers would love a steady paycheck to stave off a home foreclosure or, in the most desperate cases, to cover the cost of Thanksgiving dinner.

When times were better, retail giants forcing employees to work on treasured family holidays could easily be painted as corporate greed run amok. But today it’s hardly fair to paint merchants as retail Scrooges.

It leaves little to interpretation:


Many are lacking health insurance and foregoing staples that in different times were a given.

So please, protesting retail workers, stop whining about having to work holiday hours.

Be grateful to have a job.

“And that, my friends, would be an embarrassment if it were written by the Bird Island Clarion-Shopper,” MinnPost’s Brian Lambert writes today.

Early tomorrow morning — Thanksgiving, no less — hundreds of people will be forced to get up around 2 or 3 a.m., and go to work on the streets of the Twin Cities. They will destroy their cars to do their job, they will not get health care because they’ve been hired as independent contractors, and they will be very lightly paid. They will be delivering newspapers full of ads for stores opening at midnight Thursday night.

2) THE GREAT SLEEPOVER DEBATE

Should parents allow their teenagers to have sex in their home? These are the type of questions which reinforce the notion that your online host today is old. Really old. Old enough to search not only for the “no” answer on the Boston.com online survey, but the “hell, no” answer.


“American parents may feel like it’s just wrong to have these sleepovers, that they’re condoning sex,” said Amy Schalet, an assistant professor of sociology at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “But there’s a benefit to creating an environment in which teens can truly feel comfortable in admitting to their parents that they’re experiencing sexuality” and for parents to provide them a safe place to engage in it.

“Antiquated,” is the word Ms. Schalet used to describe the notion that maybe that’s not such a great idea. She says it’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell approach that doesn’t stray too far beyond providing teens with an abstinence lecture or grudgingly a visit to the doctor to get a pill prescription.”

Schalet studied Dutch and American teenagers and found the Dutch have it all over the antiquated-raised Americans. American teenage girls have more than four times the pregnancy rate of their Dutch counterparts: 61 per 1,000 in the US compared to 14 per 1,000 in Holland.

3) DEEP IMPACT

We’re standing by waiting for the first report of house fires in the region caused by people deep-frying the turkey in their homes.

4) FREEDOM OF RELIGION V. FREEDOM FROM RELIGION IN DULUTH

Should street preachers be allowed to preach at Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights? Two of them — Steve Jankowski of Duluth and Peter Scott of Hibbing — have filed suit after they were kicked out of the lighting display at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park — a public park leased to a private organization.

The Duluth News Tribune highlights the salient point for debate:


In a Nov. 29, 2010, e-mail from Deputy City Attorney Alison Lutterman to Jankowski, the city laid out its opinion on the situation. Lutterman said Bentleyville “has a contract with the city that allows it exclusive rights to the use of the Bayfront area for its presentation of a holiday lighting display known as Bentleyville. These exclusive rights include the right to exclude persons. Bentleyville is not an area intended for the exercise of 1st Amendment activity.”

Assuming that without the city leasing the park it would be “an area intended for the exercise of 1st Amendment activity,” the question becomes whether a city can sign away someone’s 1st Amendment rights.

.. and no religion, too: Billboards never let us down for their ability to disturb. This billboard is being taken down in New York City after complaints…

wodka.jpg

The Anti-Defamation League and consumers bashed the board as being anti-Semitic for suggesting Jews are cheap and/or Christmas is a higher-quality holiday, AdFreak says.

5) WRITING BACKWARDS

“Whatever talent you’re blessed with should be used to help others,” this woman from Hutchinson tells KARE 11.

Bonus I: Art can often lift you out of a funk. But this artwork is intended to have a health benefit — lifting the burden of seasonal affective disorder.

Bonus II: How should news organizations cover stories with offensive acts involved — think Penn State — without describing the offensive acts involved? NPR’s ombudsman tackles that listener complaint today.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Walmart is planning to expand the health-care services it offers in its stores. Today’s Question: How likely would you be to use a retailer like Walmart for your health care?

THE BIG STORY

Today was supposed to be the deadline for the congressional budget super committee to finish its work. We look at its failure, track any last minute attempts at a deal and what happens next .

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Walmart’s expansion into medical care.

Second hour: The growing power of Amazon.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: McClatchy’s Cairo Bureau Chief Hannah Allam discusses events in Egypt.

Second hour: Stephanie Curtis on new movie releases over the holidays, and the best animal movies ever.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political talk with NPR’s political editor.

Second hour: Talking politics at the Thanksgiving table.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Seventy-five years ago, in two recording studios a world apart, two musical legends who never met — Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson — changed music.

  • Bob Moffitt

    1) I thought I had picked up the Wall Street Journal by mistake when I read that opinion piece. All it was missing was a sneer and the phrase “Silence, you dog!”

    4) Oy! And what’s with the dogs?

  • Dave Eldred

    Thanks for leading with the Strib editorial. Was speechless when i read it. Waiting for them to join Newt in calling for the abolition I child labor laws – kids are pretty spoiled and ungrateful these days, you know.

  • “Be glad you have a job”

    That just about says it all.

  • Jim G

    As a former underpaid paperboy at age 11, I was at first puzzled by the sellout. But then I remembered the Watergate scandal and Deap Throat’s advice, ” Follow the money.”

  • Kurt Nelson

    Re: #4

    First Amendment rights are not absolute. Bentleyville, as a private actor can decide who they allow in to the festival and who they deny, all without bringing a First Amendment fight.

    Time, place, manner restrictions are used commonly by cities, again without causing harm to the 1st. Think about a religion which calls for the blowing of a trumpet as loudly as possible (from your doorstep), for 3 minutes at 4am. A city is certainly within its rights to ban outdoor trumpet playing between certain hours without infringing on that religion. The rule applies to all, and the Court has a long history of upholding time,place,manner restrictions.

    These two can stand on the street and preach, but the lease with the city gives Bentleyville the right to exclude them from inside the festival.

  • I am surprised, in this relatively progressive state, that a lot of the comments on that editorial are cheering the Star Tribune on enthusiastically.

  • jay Sieling

    The First Amendment grants a right of free speech, but not the right to an audience. Kurt’s points about time, place, and manner are important.

    Would letting the preachers into Bentleyville be like spam? Unwanted or uninvited messages broadcast to a wide audience of unintended listeners?

  • John O.

    1) I grew up in retail. My Dad spent a major part of his career in retail and I learned a lot of skills helping out in his store as a young lad in the 1970’s.

    Many things have changed in retail since those days, but one thing has not: from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, working in retail is a marathon. Like it or not, the long hours, chaotic checkout areas, constant restocking, etc. are all a part of the package when one chooses to work in retail.

    After all, what’s a person supposed to do this year after the Harbaugh Bowl is over Thanksgiving night?

  • Chris

    @kurt & @jay

    it seems the issue isn’t whether laws/regulations can be passed by a city or state but rather can activities that are normally lawful in a public space be leased away.

    fair question that can relate as easily to religion as to occupy

  • Bob Collins

    //After all, what’s a person supposed to do this year after the Harbaugh Bowl is over Thanksgiving night?

    From what I can tell, this “earlier opening” thing doesn’t actually increase sales. It just spreads them out over a longer period of time.

    People shop price, right? If they’re coming into your store because of a sale at midnight, why wouldn’t they come in at 9 a.m. the next day?

  • Christie

    A couple of print publications are carrying stories about the “sleepover debate” right now. My colleague and I read Maclean’s version yesterday and, even at different stages of the parenting process, we agreed that there’s definitely a way to talk openly with children about sex and sexuality and still communicate the “not under my roof” message. But that message isn’t ONLY about “don’t.” It’s about appropriate, safe, healthy ADULT relationships. I think that’s a crucial piece that’s missing for many American kids.

  • Bob Collins

    Christie, I had a long interview yesterday (for the People You Should Meet Series) with a brilliant woman who has been working on the problem of the high STD rates among women, especially those from low-income families.

    She noted that many young women, in particular, have no idea what is expected of them in dating.

    “You’re ONLY responsibility is to say, ‘thank you for dinner,'” she tells them.

    Their reaction to that, as she described it, illuminated just how poorly we raise our kids on matters of great importance.

  • BenCh

    I’m looking forward to that upcoming “People You Should Meet” Bob!

    Regarding the BF Sales- While it is in the best interest of a company to look out for its employees, there is no law stating that a store can’t be open midnight after Thanksgiving. While I can sympathize, there are still many who have had to work on holidays (nurses come to mind). Does it suck? Yes. I think it is a growing trend among American workers that is really going to manifest itself in the new working generation. I have seen it first hand teaching college classes that students want a grade just for showing up… and I bet it is going to transfer into the workplace too. I think it says more about the American worker that they petition against their employers open hours than it does the company.

    RE #3- This is my first Thanksgiving not at my immediate family’s since my wife works on Thanksgiving… I am hoping that since she isn’t the best cook our Thanksgiving meal doesn’t end like that!

  • k dave

    I am somewhat puzzled as to how this is supposed to work. I am unemployed. In the mail each week I get at least 4 pre-approved credit card offers. I am receiving an invitation to spend money that does not exist. Coupled with that ludicrous story is another account where an aquaintance told me that he was filing bankruptcy and his lawyer suggested that he max out his credit cards while he could.

    This story reports of many unemployed which in my pocket book means no cash for Christmas spending. So that leaves credit card spending that can’t be paid? Who are the masses that will be shopping at 1am on Friday morning. Is it a large enough crowd that will pay for overhead and payroll? Is it really worth it? Are these shoppers sober and sane? Increasing the opportunity for consumption of resources is the answer?

    To put the burden of working at 1 in the morning or any time before 8am on those who are employed in retail is wrong.

  • Tom

    Where is the ‘outrage’ for restaurant and bar workers who have to come into work on Thanksgiving afternoon and evening? The bars are packed on Thursday night but I don’t see anyone shedding tears for them?

    Friday is not a national holiday. Retailers have been open on the day after THanksgiving for years and years. Retail employees being outraged to work the day after Thanksgiving seem similar to bartenders being outraged about having to work during the Super Bowl.

  • John P

    “Not under my roof” is a losing battle. Young people will have sex. Maybe not under your roof, maybe just not when you are home, but they will have sex.

    The last thing you want is to make them afraid to have condoms or birth control pills in their room. Better to teach how to be responsible and shoot for a Holland-like pregnancy rate.

  • Bob Collins

    One of the issues here is the “irregular” hours. Sure, wait staff has to work Thanksgiving, but probably during “regular hours.” Even the nurse or paramedic (disclaimer: my son is a paramedic; he won’t be able to join us tomorrow) working in the middle of the night, is working regular hours for that profession.

    The open-at-midnight hours are NOT regular hours for those employees.

    That doesn’t diminish from the sacrifices people make whose regular hours are midnight to 5 a.m. But it does distinguish the two groups.

  • This is NOT lucy

    Tom:

    The problem lies in the fact that retailers in the past have not been presented with this option (or lack of option.)

    I have worked many holidays in the bar and restaurant business. I went in the position knowing that it was a part of the job.

    For years I worked retail on Christmas Eve for the fact that I didn’t mind and actually enjoyed giving a hard time to those husbands who waited until the last minute to find something for their wife. I knew that it was hard for my employer to find people who would work on this day so I made it my day to work. (I doubt that this employer would ever subject her workers to work at 1 am on BF, she has a conscience.)

    I think we are heading in the wrong direction with this 1am Black Friday business.

  • Dave Eldred

    If bars and restaurants close on T-giving, those are sales they will never recoup. If retailers open at 9:00 a.m. on Friday instead of midnight, their sales will be the same — just at different times.

    Truly, that’s a major difference here.

  • Dave Eldred

    If bars and restaurants close on T-giving, those are sales they will never recoup. If retailers open at 9:00 a.m. on Friday instead of midnight, their sales will be the same — just at different times.

    Truly, that’s a major difference here.

  • allie

    I’m really hoping Minnesota consumers show Target and the like how they feel by not shopping this weekend. We vote with our wallets, folks.

    We can’t have our self-righteous cake by complaining on behalf of workers, and then eat it too by taking advantage of Black Friday sales.

  • John O.

    @NewsCut //After all, what’s a person supposed to do this year after the Harbaugh Bowl is over Thanksgiving night?

    I tried to put in [eg] after that sentence using the greater than and less than symbols, but it was omitted because it thought it was some html code. Sarcasm was intended.

  • CHS

    1) I’ve commented negatively about the Midnight openings in some of Bob’s other postings on the topic, but mostly in regards to how I get miffed at the erosion of traditions and the ‘sanctity’ of holidays, etc, blah blah blah, but that strip editorial really strikes a nerve. It’s appalling to me that people are completely missing the point, consumers are going to spend the money based on price, and the experience of going out on Black Friday, not some concept of when the store opens. It wouldn’t matter if it was 5am or midnight, the consumers will show up and spend if they were going to based on the deals and what they are looking for. The only place the difference will be felt is in the people that are forced to go along with it because they are ‘lucky to have a job.’ Editorials like that are the equivalent of someone shouting pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, or look at this dancing monkey, nothing but a diversion and an excuse for poor labor practices. Saying look at all those unemployed people and you’re lucky to have a job is nothing more than an excuse to treat employees worse to fatten the bottom line. I don’t buy for one second that Black Friday matters beans to a place like Target, it’s doing just fine the rest of the year. While it may be true that there is an expectation of having to work longer hours and harder during the holiday season for retail workers, changing the “normal” then yelling at the workers to shut up you’re lucky to have a job when they push back is just crap, and this coming from someone with slightly anti-union views. I’ve missed my fair share of holidays, but it was expected and normal in the professions I was employed in. I’ve had to work the bar holidays, and had to miss half of the holidays every year while I worked in EMS, but those were choices I made when I worked those jobs. Target employees chose to work retail knowing they would have some long hours, but they had the decision to work Thanksgiving made for them when corporate decided that they needed an extra 5 hours of frenzy. Rant over. Happy Holidays everyone.

    4) While I normally would side with private entities being able to ‘exclude’ people from their events (The ant-gay preacher who crashes PRIDE comes to mind) this one makes me think. Someone above referenced Occupy, and that I think is a great question to think about. So, if the city can lease out the PUBLIC space to anyone who pays, and then the paying entity can control speech in the park, what’s to stop CitiBank or someone from “leasing” Zucotti Park for the rest of the year and ‘excluding’ all of the Occupy protest people? All judgment regarding the validity of preaching or occupying aside, it’s a very slippery slope, and I’m not sure the city has a right to lease away space that is paid for by tax dollars to any entity who will not allow full use of that space as it is allowed for the public otherwise.

    And that billboard…. really? Why The Face

  • BJ

    Some have said that if they open later they will get the same sales. Those people are wrong.

    If the average person spends x dollars and they spend it at the store that is open at 11PM T-giving night, they don’t have it to spend at 8 AM Black Friday.

    Opening earlier is about capturing all of the dollars the retailers can. As long as people come they will keep opening earlier. Kmart has been open all day on T-giving for years (19 years I think) and no one has said a word about them (that I have seen).

  • Tom

    Last year, Walmart started their Black Friday sales at Midnight. The stores were packed. Walmart sold millions and millions of dollars of goods, their competitors lost that business to them. Last year, Kohl’s and Target both opened at 4AM. Many other stores opened at 5AM. Shoppers voted that they wanted the deals earlier.

    Was the writing on the wall that hard to see for retail employees for what would happen this year? Do you think the companies that lost sales to Walmart would open up at 4AM and 5AM again this year?

    It is hard to argue that 4AM is a “regular” hour for retail workers but midnight is not.

  • Kurt Nelson

    @Chris,

    My mother-in-law lives across the road from Bayfront Park, and we visit often. That park is always busy, especially in summer, with all manner of different activities. The Blues fest is probably the most well known. I am sure the lease agreement between the city and those organizers contains language on what types of activities, which might otherwise be legal, are not allowed. If a couple wanted to use the park to be married, and leased it for a day, they could also bar some from entering, all without infringing anyone’s First Amendment rights.

    Conversely, public drinking is allowed during many of those events, when public drinking is otherwise not allowed by law.

    Bentleyville is not a religious event, (one could argue it is but there are no implicit nods to religion). if the organizers wanted to allow religion into the festival, then they would be required to allow any religious group in to proselytize.

  • Tom

    Re: bar/restaurant analogy.

    How do you think we got to this point where Thanksgiving night is one of the busiest of the year for bars? I would assume that long ago, almost nothing was open for the benefit of employees to spend time with their families. I certainly don’t remember it when I was younger.

    Then one enterprising bar owner decided to open to see if he could drum up some sales on Thanksgiving night. No one else was open, he’d be the only game in town.

    Lo and behold, customers wanted to go out Thanksgiving night, necessitating wait staff, kitchen staff, janitorial staff to leave their families on Thanksgiving to service these customers.

    Because Thanksgiving night bar time was so popular with customers, more and more places decided to open to serve the customers coming in the door because they weren’t getting the dollars but their competitors were.

    Now nearly every establishment is open and busy on Thanksgiving night. No one bats an eye. How is this different for retailers?

  • CHS

    @BJ Nearly all Black Friday shoppers I’ve ever spoken to or watched plan their blitzkrieg on Grandma’s table after Thanksgiving dinner used the ads on Thursday to figure out where they were going to get what they were going to get, based on PRICE. You can open hours ahead of the other guy, but if you charge more, they aren’t coming. The notion of a major competitive edge coming from opening earlier is just an excuse to follow the trend toward opening earlier because everyone else does. Why not just start the deals at 5PM tonight then? Then you’re a whole day and a half ahead of everyone else, massive competitive edge right?

  • kay smith

    I’m with Allie–the stores wouldn’t put on the crazy early opening offering a free steak knife set if we didn’t break down the doors for said set.

  • jay Sieling

    @Chris, “it seems the issue isn’t whether laws/regulations can be passed by a city or state but rather can activities that are normally lawful in a public space be leased away.”

    That seems to be a distinction without a difference. If I lease the picnic shelter at city park, I am not obligated to make it available to anyone outside my group simply because it otherwise is open. I can limit the use to my select group. The activities normally allowed are not being lease away, but restricted based on time, space, and manner.

  • Pam

    Being *forced* to get up at 2-3am; don’t you believe in free will, Bob?

  • Bob Collins

    // How is this different for retailers?

    Let me take another stab at this.

    What you’re describing is an expectation of having to work if you work in a bar. They’ve been doing it.

    No such expectation existed in the case of Target because they only announced it a couple of weeks ago . Now, maybe next year it won’t be a big deal, because it’ll be a reasonable expectation of employment. But that wasn’t the case this year.

    The long-term concern, I think, is that 4 am last year, 12 am this year, probably means 10 pm next year – again, similar to your bar analogy.

    But then — the concern goes — that 10 pm next year becomes 5pm the year after.

    That actually MIGHT be easier on the workers since they’re probably used to working those hours. But working midnight to 5 am when your regular shift is 2pm-9pm might be a different story.

    To me, the societal question is can we as a nation take one day away from all the bells and whistles and just “be” for a day, as a sign of respect for what the holiday is intended to encourage.

    Personally, I don’t think we can, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Memorial Day or any of the other major holidays, and increasingly that includes religious holidays like Christmas — they’re more about marketing and shopping than anything else.

    The concerns you’re hearing expressed over the last weeks are the dying embers of attempts to reverse that .

  • Bob Collins

    //Do you think the companies that lost sales to Walmart would open up at 4AM and 5AM again this year?

    This is the part I don’t get. If people are going to Walmart at midnight to buy a $500 HDTV, and you advertise a $450 HDTV but open at 8 a.m., why wouldn’t YOU get the business?

  • CHS

    The concerns you’re hearing expressed over the last weeks are the dying embers of attempts to reverse that .

    Bob, what if it’s not the dying embers, but the embers coming back to life? A revival of priorities of sorts? đŸ™‚ We’re seeing a lot of push back in a lot of areas these days…..

  • Bob Collins

    // Being *forced* to get up at 2-3am; don’t you believe in free will, Bob?

    Exactly. This is what’s at the heart of the Strib editorial. As I noted in that old piece, the Pioneer Press *required*you work 7 days a week. (The Strib uses two different carriers on routes).

    Now, of course, you had the option of not working at all, and just being happy you had a job to help pay the rent, but couldn’t you also say that about this person?

    Couldn’t you also apply that to the employees of Massey Mines?

    Now, obviously, working at Target is nowhere near working in a coal mine — or so I’ve heard — but that’s a separate issue when telling employees, as the Strib obviously did, to just shut up and stop whining?

    David Brauer this morning raised an interesting question: Was that editorial written by a member of the Newspaper Guild?

  • Tom

    \\This is the part I don’t get. If people are going to Walmart at midnight to buy a $500 HDTV, and you advertise a $450 HDTV but open at 8 a.m., why wouldn’t YOU get the business?

    Because Black Friday shoppers typically don’t wait in line for hours for a single item. The carts are overflowing with TVs, Tupperware, Computers, Clothing, Toys. The reward for a single item typically isn’t worth it.

    It is nearly impossible to go to (or wait in line at) Retailer A and buy their best priced HDTV, then immediately get to your car drive to Retailer B buy their best priced computer. Retailer B’s best priced computers will all be sold out by the time you get there.

    Shoppers have to essentially choose one retailer and stick with them for multiple items, the switching time is prohibitive.

    By opening competitively earlier (say Walmart’s midnight opening last year) can effectively capture all the shoppers by saying ‘Stop here first, get almost everything on your list and then try to get to Retailer B or Retailer C when they open later but they might run out before you get there’. So the ‘safe bet’ becomes Retailer A. The choice equation changes from Retailer (A or B or C) to Retailer A and maybe (B or C or D).

    What happens is that when at Retailer A, shoppers will pay $500 for that same HDTV they could get at $450 at Retailer B because they are already there and don’t want to have to wait in line for hours again. Each retailer pays similar amounts to their suppliers for similar items, there really isn’t that much difference in total prices. Opening time becomes the differentiator.

    It is a nasty slippery slope, but stores used to open at 9AM on Black Friday and the competitive marketplace (and resulting shoppers) have accepted/rewarded earlier and earlier opening times.

  • BenCh

    There is something being lost in all this Black Friday price talk which is worth noting.

    Last year I went out near the opening times of stores and I think for one store I was there when the doors actually opened. I swooped in, got my one item, and was in line before the cashiers were even ready.

    One thing I found out while shopping BF is that while they advertise the crap out of their deals, they still try to get you in the store. So sure, you came to buy that $400 TV or that $500 laptop, but near the registers they stack up the “impulse” buys. THAT is the money they want to fight for. At Target last year they had the on sale DVDs at the doors, in the electronics dept, and near the registers. They did almost the same with the on sale iTunes gift cards. These stores know people plan ahead which is why so much pressure is on the ads. What they want though is for you to get there, spend more money than you wanted to, which leaves you less money for the other stores.

    Does it suck for the workers? Yes. I think more can be done to help ease the frustration of the workers (such as shorter shifts or guaranteed X-mas off etc.) but right now stores are making changes annually. Once these stores find the right mixture of what hours they are open and what revenue they gain it will all even out. Until then it is going to be more and more changes until they strike that balance…

  • John P II

    Maybe some activist group should occupy Target’s entrance masquerading as shoppers eager to be first in the store, then lock arms and blockade the entrance. Wait, that would set off a violent confrontation between shoppers and activists and someone could get trampled to death. AGAIN. Activists should stay away. Stores should secretly open earlier than their advertised times to avoid crowd melees. Of course that would mean employees have to report to work earlier, but at least they’re saving lives.

  • Bob Collins

    A person with some knowledge of the tactic told me yesterday that one of the ways Target gets people to spend more money is the generous use of the vanilla fragrance throughout the store. Apparently, it reminds people of their mothers.

    Keep a nose out for that tomorrow night, friends, and let me know if you notice that.

  • MR

    I chalk this STrib editorial up to the same attitude that has started to call high-income earners “job creators.” That we should shut up and be happy because someone with a bunch of money deigned to grant us working folk the chance to work a crappy low-wage job is really disturbing, and I hate that the STrib is endorsing that view.

  • Bob Collins

    I see Sears, which isn’t opening until early Friday, is starting its Black Friday pricing and specials tonight at 8 online.

    Your move, Target.

  • Dave S.

    Regarding teen birth rates in the US, the number you (or Schalet) cites is from 1991; the highest year in the last 20+.

    According to a new study by researchers Gladys Martinez, Casey Copen and Joyce Abma at the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. birth rate for females ages 15-19 has trended downward ever since then and was 39.1 births per 1,000 females in 2009 — a historic low. Still not as good as many other developed countries, but we’re moving in the right direction.

  • Cara

    Black Friday pricing has already begun on a LOT of retailer websites. I’ve snagged a few deals being delivered to my office in the next few weeks.

  • this is NOT lucy

    About Target Bob, I don’t understand the marketing strategy in some of their commercials. I am referring to the ones with the crazy blonde-haired and side-pony-tailed woman who appears to be crazy to take shopping so seriously.

    The message conveyed from those commercials, to me is, “I don’t want to be like blonde crazy lady.” and therefore “Target-shopping- makes you crazy.”

  • Julia

    To me, the real issue is not the hours (though as a former retail worker I’m not a fan of those either), it’s the attitude that the editorial displays. There’s a long history in this county and elsewhere of exploiting workers and while this situation isn’t sweatshop conditions or child labor, it seems like an emotionally abusive consequence of holding workers hostage to their crappy jobs in a crappy economy.

  • Jamie

    Just incidentally, I’m surprised that Target hasn’t fired that guy who started the petition, and any other employees who have spoken publicly about the situation. Employers usually don’t allow employees to speak in any negative terms about the company.