Best Buy employee latest to protest midnight Black Friday opening

  • Article by: WENDY LEE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2011 - 2:23 PM

Using the same petitioning website, a Best Buy employee says retail workers deserve a full holiday with family.

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Roseville, Mn. Friday 11/26/10 Black Friday early shopping. These people waited in line for over 10 hours in below zero windchill to shop for bargain at the Best Buy in Roseville, MN. Best Buy will open at midnight this year.

On the heels of a Target employee's crusade against the retailer opening at midnight Black Friday, a Best Buy employee has started a similar online petition.

Rick Melaragni, who works for Best Buy in Florida, says it's not right for the Minneapolis-based electronics retailer to require its employees to come in on Thanksgiving so that it can open its doors at midnight on Black Friday, instead of the traditional early-morning opening.

"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!" Melaragni wrote on his petition on change.org.

On Thursday morning, the petition has received close to 7,500 signatures.

Best Buy said it made its decision to open its doors earlier because customers have told them they will shop on Thanksgiving and earlier on Black Friday. Many of Best Buy's competitors are also opening at midnight or earlier.

Best Buy said it will consider employee input on how it handles this and future holiday seasons.

"We know this decision changes Thanksgiving plans for some of our employees, and we empathize with those who are affected," Best Buy said in a statement. The company later said, "The best thing we can do, each day, is to help our company grow, so we can continue to provide good jobs through the continuation of great customer experiences."

Melaragni said he volunteered to work the midnight shift so that his co-workers with children could be with their families.

"I will be cutting my Thanksgiving short like many retail workers," Melaragni said. "I will have to be in bed while most are preheating their ovens."

Best Buy is joining other retailers like Target, Macy's and the Mall of America that plan midnight Black Friday openings.

Nearly 150,000 people have signed the Target petition asking the retailer to "save Thanksgiving." A petition asking Bank of America to rethink its decision to charge customers a $5 monthly debit card fee attracted more than 306,000 signatures. Some say the petition contributed to Bank of America's decision not to implement the fee.

Wendy Lee • 612-673-1712

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