Taking a stand against more and more retailers starting Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving evening seems to be in vogue.

Malls and retailers all over the state and country for that matter have announced earlier opening hours to try and goose up Black Friday sales figures.

And it’s been met with plenty of resistance.

Just last week, I suggested there be a blue law in effect on Thanksgiving Day.

The holiday has been losing its meaning over the years, and with the recent announcement of store openings; folks all over are beginning to realize how much commercialism is ruining what used to be one of America’s most cherished holidays.

One mall worker is even going so far as to start a petition to force malls to close on Thanksgiving.

Anthony Michael Rivera has worked at Menlo Park Mall for two years, but this year the mall will be opening on Thanksgiving Day for holiday shoppers and he’s not happy about the change.

“I think it’s absurd the fact that you would tell someone that they have to work on Thanksgiving or you would even contemplate being open on Thanksgiving Day. I think it’s the biggest highlight of corporate greed,” said Rivera, a resident of the Somerset section of Franklin, who learned about the mall’s plans to be open on Thanksgiving Day a few weeks ago.
Rivera was initially told the mall would be opening at 6 p.m. but later learned the mall, part of the Simon Property Group, plans to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Rivera, who works at a store in the mall, posted a petition on Change.org aimed at stopping Simon malls from being open on Thanksgiving Day and instead open around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. on Black Friday, which he considers “seemingly more reasonable” because it doesn’t impact Thanksgiving Day. He said a midnight opening would be too early.

Rivera said Change.org is a place people can go to fight for something they truly believe in.

Rivera, 24, said he’s not just taking a stand for himself, but for any retail worker assigned to work on the Thanksgiving holiday. He noted Walmart and Best Buy stores also are scheduled to open on Thanksgiving Day.

Rivera said people still may be eating their Thanksgiving dinner at 6 or 7 p.m. In addition mall employees assigned to work when the stores open won’t get a chance to share a Thanksgiving meal with their families because they will have a leave early to get their jobs.

“There is no consideration for people who work,” said Rivera. “It’s a lot of people you are impacting. It’s one of the few days during the year, besides your regular days off, where you can enjoy time away to be with your family or friends or just relax and really enjoy quality of life.”

Rivera said he’d like to stop the trend of the earlier and earlier start time of holiday shopping on Thanksgiving.

He said the Black Friday sales used to begin around 5 a.m., then moved up to 2 a.m., then midnight and now the new Black Friday is Thanksgiving Thursday.

Rivera said it’s going to take more than store employees to stop the trend, it’s going to take customers. But he doesn’t see that happening right now.

“What I see is there will be no more holidays for any retail employees,” Rivera said.

He’s right about that. No more holidays for retail. But then again, aren’t there some of us that have to work, no matter what the holiday?

Take the fireman, police officer, ambulance driver, doctor on call, hospital worker, nursing home caregiver, New Jersey Transit bus driver, train conductor, TV news anchor, radio personality, waiter, waitress, cook…you get the picture.

I applaud Rivera’s effort for one reason – he’s fighting the “Quixotic” fight against encroaching commercialism. And if there's one aspect of this "holiday" I hate, it's that it's being squeezed out by advertisements of stores opening early to accommodate early shopping.

If his point is that the holiday is losing its meaning - I could't agree more!

But bemoaning having to work that day falls on deaf ears to the many who we take for granted are working anyway.