Black Friday Sparks Some Protests

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NEW YORK (UPI) — U.S. bargain hunters indulged in some post-turkey deal seeking as some of the nation’s largest retailers opened earlier than ever for Black Friday.

Though a Gallup poll found just one-in-five Americans planned to go shopping Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, by midday Walmart said it had already processed more than 1 million register transactions at its 4,000 U.S. stores, CNNMoney said.

Walmart opened its doors at 8 p.m. Thursday, angering some employees who say the ever-earlier opening times are infringing on their right to spend the holiday with family. The opening sparked a series of small protests at a handful of Walmart stores, with employees at some locations walking out and joining a union-backed picket line.

“I have four kids and I don’t want them to grown up in a society where people disrespect them,” said Jouse Mata, an overnight maintenance worker at a Walmart near Dallas. “This is a never-ending fight and we’re never going to stop.”

The pro-union group OUR Walmart said protests sprung up at nearly a dozen Walmart stores in Texas, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.

In Times Square, tourists and shoppers lined up outside a Toys “R” Us, which also opened at 8 p.m. Thursday.

For some, the overnight sales prove alluring enough to shop not just for Christmas, but pending birthdays and other annual gift-giving occasions, The New York Times said.

“We’ll probably spend the whole night at Macy’s after this,” said Iona Rashmi of Manhattan, who said she did the same last year. “I do my shopping for the whole year this night — holidays, birthdays, everything I need to buy for friends and family. The deals are better.”

And for others, a trip to Toys “R” Us was worth avoiding crowds elsewhere.

“I guess I don’t really have any particular goals for tonight’s shopping, but it seems less nerve-racking to stand in line here than walking through all of that,” said Patrick Tucker, a 24-year-old from Kansas City, overlooking the clogged pedestrian traffic on Times Square sidewalks.

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