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      "Thanksgiving creep" has holiday traditionalists crying foul

      Thanksgiving week is here and shoppers all over the country are gearing up for the start of the Christmas shopping season. But there's something different about Black Friday this year.

      Target, Walmart, Sears and a record number of other retail store chains will open Thanksgiving night this year, instead of waiting until Friday morning.

      That has sparked a debate between Thanksgiving traditionalists who believe the shopping madness has gotten out of hand and others who see nothing wrong with hitting the stores following their holiday meal.

      Retail experts call it Thanksgiving creep, with some store chains opening their doors as early as 8:00 p.m. Thursday night. That rubs some people the wrong way.

      "It ought to be time for family and not shopping," said Jerry Button of Surfside Beach. "We have enough days to shop. We don't need another."

      Added Ron Wing of Surfside Beach: "I think it just takes away from the holiday, which I think is one of the best holidays of the year."

      Those opposed to shopping on the holiday say Thanksgiving should be a day of rest, and that includes people who work in retail.

      "You know what, I feel bad for the people that have to work it. That means they have to get up from their table to go to the store and put in the time," said Eileen Pietrofere of Murrells Inlet.

      But there are others who say traditional family time on Thanksgiving just doesn't work for everybody.

      "Around here, in the Myrtle Beach area, a lot of people don't have families here with them to go to," said Gerri Collins of Surfside Beach, who sees nothing wrong with shopping on the holiday.

      Others say Christmas shopping is a family activity, so why not do it on Thanksgiving? Mary Abernethy of Murrells Inlet says it's more likely that her family would go out on Thursday night than fight the crowds Friday morning.

      "I would think about it more like us all coming out, like something to do in the evening, to get out. Probably all come to Target and wander around," said Abernethy.

      An online petition at asks Target's corporate management to "take the high road and save Thanksgiving" by not opening their stores on Thursday night, so employees can have the holiday off.

      The petition had generated more than 350,000 signatures by Monday afternoon, but a similar petition drive last year went nowhere and there's no indication this year's petition will have any greater impact.


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