It may not have attracted the same national controversy as last year but there are still plenty of people annoyed at Target Corp.'s decision to once again open its stores on Thanksgiving night for Black Friday.

A Target employee Monday delivered to corporate headquarters a petition containing 350,000 "Save Thanksgiving" signatures. As they did last year, Target officials politely accepted the petition but otherwise defended their decision:

"The enormity of asking some of our store teams to work on Thanksgiving night is not lost on us," Target vice president of human resources Tim Curoe said in a statement. "We recognize some team members are cutting short time with their families to work. And so, once again, to our team, and to their families and friends, we say thank you."
"And yet, we've heard from many of our team members that they are supportive of our plans, excited to get additional hours, holiday and incentive pay, and understand the need to compete," he said.

I sympathize with anyone who has to work on Thanksgiving night but it's a lost cause. Despite the outcry, retailers are opening even earlier this year. Last year, Target opened its doors at midnight; this year it's 9 p.m..

Critics say they don't believe Target's argument that customers want these hours. But shoppers vote with their feet and dollars. And the truth boils down to this: it cost a lot of money for Target and retailers to open their stores early. They wouldn't do so if they didn't see a demand or financial benefit.