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Best Buy employee creates petition against earlier Black Friday hours

7:44 PM, Nov 21, 2011   |    comments
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CITRUS PARK, Florida -- The crowds will line up earlier. The toys will be scooped up sooner.

And this Black Friday, some of Rick Melaragni's coworkers at Best Buy might sleep through Thanksgiving dinner just to make it to work on time.

"Every United States citizen should be able to break bread with their family," Melaragni says.

Several retailers will open stores at midnight this year. Toys "R" Us even starts sales at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. A couple weeks ago, Melaragni, who has worked at Best Buy for eight years, hadn't heard anything about Best Buy's hours. Therefore, he thought stores wouldn't open earlier than usual.

"We're like, it's not going to happen now. We're better, we have more values," Melaragni says. Unfortunately, something took precedence over that and it seems like it was money... I wanted to speak up and say hey it's not okay."

So he turned to his tablet and spread his message from Citrus Park to people across the world through a petition.

"I was just like, 'Hey, look, we've got 200 employees signing this. Maybe we can rethink this next year because you're not keeping the employees happy.' And then it just took off. It went insane," he says.

As of Monday evening, 14,000 people had signed the petition. And Best Buy has taken notice.

"We take input from our employees seriously; we will continue to connect with them, to listen to their concerns, and to consider their input in our approach to this and future holiday seasons," Best Buy told 10 News in a statement.

"This year, customers have told us - and our competitors - that they plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, and earlier than ever on Black Friday. We therefore made the difficult decision to move our opening Black Friday to midnight. We know this decision changes Thanksgiving plans for some of our employees, and we empathize with those who are affected." 

Melaragni's petition was inspired by a similar one designed to protest Target's hours on Black Friday. Change.org says it's hand-delivered a copy of those signatures to Target's corporate offices.

Click here to sign Melaragni's petition.

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