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New Jersey Worker Starts Petition To Keep Mall Closed On Thanksgiving

Mall Officials Say Hours Offer Shoppers Greater Flexibility

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EDISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A worker at a New Jersey mall believes opening for shoppers on Thanksgiving is for the birds.

Anthony Rivera has started an online petition opposed to the Simon Property Group opening the Menlo Park Mall in Edison and other properties at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Rivera believes 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. on the day after, Black Friday, is more reasonable.

“People shouldn’t have to work on Thanksgiving Day,” Rivera told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin. “It is completely taxing on your quality of life, and it devalues Thanksgiving.”

“It’s not just me who feels this way,” he told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “There’s no need for a mall or retailers to be open on Thanksgiving Day.”

The petition had 566 signatures as of Wednesday night.

WEB EXTRA: Click here to see the petition.

Rivera said he’s taking a stand even though he’s not even scheduled to work Thanksgiving.

“The backlash, I thought about, was the worst thing that can happen,” he said. “I lose my job because I’m trying to help people enjoy a federal holiday?”

Simon Property Group spokesman Les Morris said the extended holiday hours are designed to meet customer needs for greater flexibility.

“Consumers want it,” John Holub of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “Retailers clearly would not open the doors unless the consumers were going to come in and shop.”

Holub points out retailers want to take advantage of every hour possible because there are six fewer shopping days this year than last, Putney reported.

Some shoppers agreed that they like having the extra time to shop for the holidays.

“I think it’s good to get a head start for Black Friday shopping,” Kristina Benites, of Carteret, told Carlin.

“Some people have dinner really early in the day, and they can afford to spend the time in the mall,” she added.

“I think that America is capitalism, so why not?” said Sue Cota, of Highland Park.

Others, however,  sided with the retail workers.

“We need a break,” said Aaron Trammell, of Highland Park. “People need a rest.”

“If you’re choosing to come shop instead of spending time with your family, that’s your choice, but I don’t think it’s right,” said Danielle Claussen, of Long Beach Island.

The Macy’s store in the mall will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. But the Nordstrom store won’t open until Friday.

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