Black Friday store openings are getting earlier and earlier every year. Macy's and JCPenney are opening at 4 a.m., and Kmart and Sears will maintain hours on Thanksgiving Day, as well as extending the early morning hours on Black Friday. Walmart is attempting to capture the die-hard shoppers by unlocking its doors at midnight, but not everyone is thrilled with the idea.The Victor Walmart store in Rochester, N.Y. won't open at midnight on Black Friday and will instead be keeping its standard 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. hours. According to The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, nearby Victor homeowners oppose the midnight opening because of the light and noise that would result. However, Walmart representatives claim that an early opening was requested "out of concern for the safety of customers and employees." Just two years ago, a Walmart employee was trampled to death at the Valley Stream, N.Y. store when eager shoppers pushed through the doors at a 5 a.m. opening. This year the store will be open at midnight, as well as on Thanksgiving Day.
In October 2010, the City of Dartmouth, Mass. placed restrictions on what time stores could open on Black Friday, claiming that early openings result in safety hazards. The state's Attorney General hopes to ban all store openings prior to 4 a.m. unless special permission is requested from the police department. The Walmart in North Dartmouth, Mass. will not be opening until 5 a.m. -- against Walmart's wishes.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been pushing for more safety precautions during the biggest shopping day of the year, and the National Retail Federation provides an up-to-date set of guidelines about how to manage large crowds and maintain safety. However, there has been no definitive conclusion of whether earlier store hours result in fewer injuries or incite more potential safety issues.
Walmart did not respond when asked for comment about other store locations that will not be extending their Black Friday hours, so check with your local Walmart before plotting out your shopping schedule.
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