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Editorial: No thanks to Thanksgiving hours

Less than three weeks from today, the nation will be celebrating Thanksgiving — and people are already preparing for the holiday.

Those plans may include travel to the home of a friend or relative, or perhaps you’re considering taking in a high school football game where traditional rivals are matched up against each other.

This year, however, some folks may be considering spending the day doing something else entirely — shopping.

A number of big national retailers have decided that the Thanksgiving holiday is just another day ... and have opted to be open their doors to get a jump on the Black Friday shopping. Many are planning to open around 8 p.m., or even earlier, and stay open until Friday evening.

As unappetizing as this development may be to people who want to protect holidays from such rampant consumerism, it should not actually be surprising. Retailers have been looking for some kind of edge to squeeze just a little more out of Black Friday, the day after the holiday that has become the start of the holiday shopping season.

And the best way, in their opinion, is to push the clock. First, it was opening the doors at, say, 6 a.m. Friday. Then some retailers decided that this wasn’t early enough and instead opted for opening at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The last boundary to go was the actual holiday when a few national retailers decided that people were looking for something to do besides eat and watch football, so why not let them shop? Kmart, for instance, will be opening up at 6 a.m. Thursday, as it has for the past three years. But this year the store isn’t closing at all.

Kmart and other stores justify the holiday hours by saying customers have told them this is what they want. But stores could send a different message when it comes to the holiday, one that says they’re thankful for their employees and are willing to see them spend the holiday with their families.

And as for the argument that the stores have six less shopping days this year because of the way the holidays land on the calendar, we don’t think it comes into play. People who are gift buying are going to do so within the time frame they have.

The public can do its part, too, by saying “no thanks” when it comes to shopping on the holiday. And we even think the public can do the stores a favor by holding off from shopping online Thursday.

Let’s not jump the gun on Black Friday.

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