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Young consumers shop early on the early morning hours at the GAP store offering a "Entire Store Up to 60% Discount" ad Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)
Young consumers shop early on the early morning hours at the GAP store offering a "Entire Store Up to 60% Discount" ad Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Black Friday frenzy creeps into Thursday – and employees are not impressed Add to ...

It’s pretty safe to assume that the majority of Americans were doing one of two things last night: 1. Sleeping off their food hangovers. 2. Getting an early start on Black Friday.

Several retailers got a head start on their sales by opening Thanksgiving evening, dubbed “Black Friday Creep” on cnn.com.

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An early morning post on msnbc.com reports Target and Toys “R” Us Inc. both got an especially early start on what is considered the biggest shopping day of the year.

Thankfully, it seems nocturnal shoppers remained civil, with many rationalizing that predawn hours would be less hectic than Friday morning.

“This year I wasn’t about to kill people,” shopper Elizabeth Garcia told msnbc.com at about 3:30 a.m. (Perhaps the reporter was a bit bleary-eyed; Garcia’s age was listed as 17, despite having three kids, ages 7, 5 and 3.)

Black Friday sales are estimated to be grow 3.8 per cent to $11.4-billion (U.S.) for 2012, according to the post.

“About 17 per cent of shoppers said earlier this month that they planned to shop at stores that opened on Thanksgiving, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs survey of 1,000 consumers,” it reports.

Black Friday, so named because it has commonly marked the day when stores turn their yearly profit, has also long represented the kickoff to holiday shopping.

But whether stores are opting to open earlier out of self-interest or to allow impatient shoppers first dibs on bargains (at the expense of sleep), store employees have been calling foul.

Although those who worked at Target through the wee hours received time and a half plus bonus pay, according to cnn.com, employee Casey St. Clair created a petition on change.org pleading with the company’s chief executive officer to rethink “Thanksgiving Creep.” Although the petition received more than 300,000 signatures, Targets were fielding frenetic shoppers Thursday night.

Over at Wal-Mart, workers from about 1,000 locations planned to protest Thursday night and Friday over low wages and poor benefits.

“Dave Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said that the discounter learned from shoppers that they want to start shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner. Then, they want to have time to go to bed before they wake up to head back out to the stores,” msnbc.com reports.

It’s going to be a long day.

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