“Gray Thursday” Hours Draw Criticism

Several retailers have announced Thanksgiving sale hours

Forget Black Friday -- the best deals for early-bird shoppers may come on "Gray Thursday."

This year, an unprecedented number of stores such as Target, Wal-Mart and Sears are opening their doors as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. And select retailers at the Allen Premium Outlets are welcoming shoppers earlier than the mall's traditional midnight opening.

"Some stores are opening as early as nine," outlets spokeswoman Robyne Kintz said. "Driven by consumer demand and some of our shoppers, some of our stores are opening earlier and earlier."

She said the outlets would not maintain extended hours if it wasn't supported by customer demand.

"The shoppers, again, have made this a tradition," she said.

In 2011, Janet David, of Plano was lured to the midnight specials by her daughter. But she's not sure if the Thanksgiving deals this year will draw her away from celebrating the day with her family.

"I have mixed feelings about it, because I think you ought to be able to enjoy your holiday and not worry about shopping," she said.

Other shoppers said they were concerned about the burden that holiday hours place on employees, saying they hoped employers asked for volunteers to work the extended hours.

"Let the employees who want to work that day do it and make a little extra cash," said Warren Connelly, adding he hopes others will be able to stay home with their families.

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