In some places in the U.S, Thanksgiving is kept sacred with shopping bans until Black Friday. Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island have ‘blue laws’ set in place so large business are not allowed to be open during the Thanksgiving holiday. Sure some businesses have complained about such a law, but many shoppers, employees and retailers actually like the idea of keep the holiday sacred.
Come to think of it, it really does seem like a nice way to give people a break from the hustle and bustle of chaotic holiday shopping. Everyone deserves a day off to be with family, friends or what ever a person does on Thanksgiving in reality. Black Friday in itself is a crazy day period. Lately it just seems like the shopping season is growing larger and larger, and the crazy one day shopping on Black Friday is dimming each year. Thanksgiving is a holiday to give thanks. Is it really that fun trying to fight crowds of people on a day one should be relaxing and watching football games?
At times, due to earlier and earlier store openings, many people are forced not to be able to spend the holiday with their family and friends because they have to work. Just because other people can and will spend money on such a holiday, it really is not fair for those who would prefer to sit down and eat a nice dinner and give thanks.
The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is complaining customers are crossing state lines just to shop for great deals. They believe it would be in the best interests of the businesses and shoppers to let the retailers decide if they want to be open or not. Convenience stores are allowed to be open, as well as movie theaters, restaurants, pharmacies and other businesses. Large chain grocery stores have to be closed though, so if a forlorn cook forgot an essential ingredient for Thanksgiving dinner they are just plain out of luck, unless they try to find something at the local convenience store.
Such ‘Blue Laws’ were actually wide-spread through-out the United States and were possibly going on since Colonial times. Some of the laws in Maine have been set since the 1960″s. The name of the law may have even come from 18th century times because the word blue means ‘rigidly moral’ in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The laws and rules seem to vary from state to state, as in Main, retailers with space smaller than 5,000 square feet can stay open. All three of these states are affected during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Maine is also affected on holidays such as Veterans and Columbus day because they are not allowed to open in the morning without permission from the state. New Years day and even Easter are sometimes included in the bans.
Law makers in Rhode Island have lessened some of the rules by allowing sales of cars and alcohol on Sunday, and many people think it would be nice to see that happen in parts of Minnesota too. This year in Maine, lawmakers refused to lift the ban and allow shopping on Thanksgiving in order to keep it sacred as usual.
By Tina Elliott