Staples, Medieval Times Workers Say Opening Thanksgiving Day Crosses the Line

PHOTO: Medieval Times outside of Los Angeles.

As the early Thanksgiving shopping bandwagon becomes more crowded with companies such as Walmart announcing they will open at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year, more workers are wondering whether the extended shopping hours are worth it for businesses that are not big-box retailers.

Medieval Times is a family entertainment company that sells dinner and tournament-style shows. The company began offering Thanksgiving Day show tickets last year, but this year, the company is planning to add a Christmas show at its New Jersey facility.

A family member of a Medieval Times worker started a petition asking the company to cancel its Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day shows so employees can spend time with their families. More than 1,700 people have signed the petition so far.

Jamie Ordonez, 30, from Kearny, N.J., said she hopes customers won't purchase tickets for those holidays so the company is forced to cancel those showings.

"When I learned that they would be scheduling shows on Thanksgiving day and Christmas day, I was upset the only two holidays they had were being taken away from not only them but their families as well," she told "I decided to take a stand against this company and be a voice for these employees."

Medieval Times did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Andrew Lewis, 33, a Staples worker in southeast Georgia who is using an alias to protect his job, told he was surprised that Staples decided to open earlier on Thanksgiving Day when there have only been a handful of people in line on Black Friday in previous years, some looking to save $75 on an external hard drive.

"It's something usually reserved for people who are hardcore bargain hunters and in past years we've had a small line of six or a dozen people looking for the cheapest of computers," Lewis said. "From what I have observed, they don't really improve the sales or profits. There's no monetary reason to do so."

To compete with the other big-box retailers, Target announced earlier this week that it will open stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Staples locations will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 8 p.m. until midnight in permitted areas, according to Staples spokesperson Carrie McElwee, and will re-open on Black Friday at 6 a.m.

"This gives our customers the opportunity to shop when they want to shop, while allowing employees to spend time with family," McElwee said. "Additionally, for those who prefer to shop from the comfort of their home, we will also have great deals on the new online storefront."

One particularly disgruntled Staples employee started a petition asking the office supplies company to stay closed on Thanksgiving. The petition has over 7,000 signatures, according to its page.

"Do they honestly think people are going to be standing outside on Thanksgiving evening for bulk paper and pencils?" asked the anonymous Staples petitioner. "I see no reason that Staples needs to be open on Thanksgiving other than pure greed."

Lewis said he is sympathetic to stores that are keeping doors open longer to offer highly sought-after items, for example, the hottest toy available during the holidays.

"Our clientele are usually business folks who usually buy products when they need them," Lewis said. "For Staples and our normal clientele, it doesn't make sense to go with the crowd and do these kinds of sales."

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