When the clock struck midnight (and earlier than that in some places), millions of people began flocking to big retail stores across the nation in hopes of snatching up good deals on holiday gifts and gadgets. But for Occupy Wall Street protestors, there's a different reason to be at the local big-box store.
Occupy Wall Street protesters are attempting to take on the biggest retail day of the season -- Black Friday -- by occupying Walmarts and other top retailers across the country from New York to Honolulu.
"Target, Best Buy, and Macys all intend to open at midnight on Black Friday, depriving thousands of workers from a thanksgiving dinner with their families to improve corporate profits," the Occupy Black Friday Facebook page states, "Workers are fighting back and OWS stands in solidarity."
Early reports indicate Occupy Black Friday protestors have not pulled off any major disruptions, however.
The Occupy Black Friday protest is part of OccupyXmas, which will carry on through Dec. 25. The month-long protest, according to the Facebook page, targets "unregulated hyper-capitalism," referring to it as a "homicidal force."
In a similar mood of retail protest, the website StopBlackFriday.com asks people to boycott large chain stores and publically traded retail, saying 1 percent of the country is making money at the expense of the 99 percent.
"The credit cards the 99% overcharge will allow the 1% to enrich themselves gluttonously on the backs of hardworking people who simply want to provide a memorable time for their families," the website states. The site also calls on shoppers to support small businesses "that serve our local communities."
But while Occupy Wall Street is opting for protest, Portland, Maine's Downtown District is attempting to create incentives for shoppers to support small retailers. The organization issued Black Friday coupons that can be redeemed at local businesses over the next few days. During the first weekend in December, Portland's "Think Outside the Box" promotion will also feature performances, events and discounts to promote shopping in the arts district.
According to a recent report from the National Retail Federation (NRF), an estimated 152 million people are expected to shop over Black Friday weekend, up ten percent from last year. Last year, NRF estimated about 138 million shoppers over the holiday weekend and 212 million actually showed up -- a record high.