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Holiday shoppers to get a head start on Thursday
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Thanksgiving Day could become the new Black Friday now that many stores will be opening their doors to shoppers Thursday evening for traditional discounts and deals.

Several major retail chains will start offering their holiday specials on Thanksgiving Day for those who decide to start shopping before Friday’s early morning rush.

According to William Wertz, a director for community and media relations with Walmart, Thursday openings are in response to customer requests.

“We conduct surveys with customers, and this is in response to customer preferences,” Wertz said of Thanksgiving Day openings. “They would prefer to shop earlier rather than getting up in the middle of the night. We know that millions of customers are hoping to start shopping Thanksgiving night.”

As a result, Walmart locations nationwide will not only remain open Thursday, but will also begin offering their Black Friday deals at 8 p.m. Wertz says Walmart is hoping for this to be “the best Black Friday yet.”

Target and Michaels locations in Gainesville also will open Thursday for Black Friday deals.

Despite the convenience early openings may offer anxious shoppers, many local residents see the move as detrimental for the employees who will have to work the holiday shift.

“I think it’s a sad thing for people to have to work on Thanksgiving,” Hall County resident Hollie Valley said. “What happened to the notion of taking an actual holiday? Spending time with your family and friends is absolutely the most important thing. People shouldn’t have to be working.”

Gainesville resident Tom Butler echoed Valley’s sentiments.

“I feel bad for every employee who is going to have to work instead of being able to sit around a table with their family for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not always about how to make more money,” Butler said.

But for Ken Palmer, who was recently laid off from his job after company cutbacks, working on a holiday like Thanksgiving would be a welcomed opportunity in a depressed economy.

“I think there’s a lot of merit to having a day off, like Thanksgiving, to spend with family,” said Palmer. “On the flip side of that coin, though, we’re living in a time when many people are looking for work, and the chance for people to be able to make money and support their families is something they should be thankful for. Especially on Thanksgiving, I’d be thankful for my job.”

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