Poll: Should Mass. Law Prohibit Thanksgiving Shopping?

  • Comments (20)
Are you hitting the stores early this Black Friday?
Are you hitting the stores early this Black Friday? Photo Credit: Jennifer Lord Paluzzi (file photo)

For some, Thanksgiving is all about the meal. For others, it's about family or football. Outside of Massachusetts, some retailers would like to make it about shopping.

Reader Results

Would you prefer it if Massachusetts allowed stores to open on Thanksgiving?

  • Yes

  • No


National retailers Target, Walmart and Toys 'R' Us, among others, are planning to open Thanksgiving night to get a jump on the traditional Black Friday sales -- but not in Massachusetts, where the state's blue laws prohibit Thanksgiving openings. Massachusetts shoppers will get their chance to shop starting at 12:30 a.m. Friday at some stores.

Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, suggested the law may drive shoppers out of state or to the Internet for their early holiday shopping needs.

How important are holiday sales? Nationwide, the National Retail Federation is projecting an increase of 4.1 percent for retail sales. Locally, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts is predicting that will mean only a 3.5 percent gain during the holiday period.

“With five weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year — and with the most important weekends at the start and finish of the season both being three-day weekends — consumers will have ample opportunities for shopping trips this season,” Hurst said. “Retailers will be fighting hard for that additional consumer traffic and the potential additional impulse buys with promotions and discounts from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.”

Would you want the option to shop on Thanksgiving? Do you bother with the early morning Black Friday sales? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.

  • 20

Comments (20)

How about the government doesn't get involved. Simple as that.

Seems like a lot of folk are out to protect holidays. What is not true is that Thanksgiving is a religious holiday. It was about breaking bread as a community.

Local transit and general transportation works holidays. Please don't tell the MBTA that it is going to shut down for New Years Eve, or even across the country.

You'll shoot your eye out! That family story ends up in a restaurant and Ralphie's best Christmas ever. Yes, Christmas qualifies as a religious holiday. Did most even register a blip that last week was the Islamic new year?

FWIW, I am about as WASP as it gets. An interesting Christmas sermon I visited some years ago was in a Methodist chapel and the minister spent most of an hour reminding folk that consumerism had really put a dent in thre reality of the holiday. Not for nothing, I mentioned afterwards in discussion with the man that folk like Tom Leher put the cynic in many of our lives about the hypocrsy of man (and woman).

At any rate, the minister turns out to be an Italian Jew in his upbringing and preaching in a Methodist chapel. Not to get too far from the point (was there one?) Oh ya, different strokes and all that.

Should we condemn retailers and consumers for shopping early to then spend more time with family during a bigger holiday? My niece works third shift getting ready for this week (Target) Her daughter, an honor roll senior will be playing in the band at the local high school football game. Guess what the rest of her day will be. Yes, that's it, working McDonalds saving money for college. I was going to invite my niece up from RI to go to a favorite Chinese up this way but they are closed. I'll be cooking turkey here tomorrow instead and traveling south to give here a few more ZZZZzzzzzzzzs for her work week to come.

How easy it seems to dismiss the working class or the consumers that help write their paychecks. The heck with the trains and busses, let alone the planes. No union work there right?

While Thanksgiving was somewhat a historic reminder to me growing up, it certainly was not a religious one aside from dinner blessings.

Christmas is a whole other ball of wax and the entirety of months from Thanksgiving to Easter were quite sanctified in my own childhood and that in a pastors home where none were expected to go to Sunday School (his Bishop did pitch a beef at one point). It was my very agnostic mother that drilled every possible aspect of respect for religions into all of us, as offering us the best possible classical educations. Stuff none of us were getting even in the duck and cover 1950s and 1960s.

To many of this new brave world, Thanksgiving is just another day off where some could have been paid for it (and actually need it).

Enjoy the week


I sure as heck won't be near any store on Black Friday, nor would I shop on Thanksgiving, but stores should be able to open whenever they want. It should only be customer-driven and not legislated by outdated laws.



Ask yourself this question may we assume the Bluelaw's were created because a need for them was warranted by the Massachusetts Legislature?

Could it have been Store's could have been taking advantage of their workers, hour's, wage's, plus the Puritan background of New England to respect Family Values on Sundays and Holidays?

If you advocate Customer-Driven, can we also advocate Customer or Choice Driven on what Traffic Laws and our regular Statue Laws that we may obey?

If so could we have mayhem on the Roadways, and Anarchy in our general Society without regulatory direction because laws could become voluntary similar to customer-driven?

I can agree some of our Blue Laws could use some tweaking, but if we do away with them totally could the same problems come to light or start fresh for the original reason they were created?

Welcome To Third World America!

Yes Welcome All To The New Third World America, and remember to shop early and Happy Holidays to all!

Difficult question to answer. Thanksgiving should be about family and companies should show some sort of family values by not opening on that day. Except for emergency personnel there really isn't a need to be open 24 hours and 365 days a year. The companies opening on Thanksgiving or even Midnight on Friday are basically saying they don't care about their employees or about providing their employees an opportunity to enjoy a day that has traditionally been about family. The companies that open aren't even getting a competitive advance since every other company makes the same move. It's just a poor strategy from all angles and it's sad that American corporations have decided that chasing a buck a few hours early is worth more than traditional American values.

Jim I agree!

I recently had an argument with a Fast Food place, Manager, that will be open all day on Thanksgiving in my Town.

I asked him why are you going to be open all day on Thanksgiving? He told me people need a place to go on Thanksgiving. I asked him where he thought people went when they use to be closed on Thanksgiving? He had no answer and told me he would no longer discuss it with me, and gave me a Toll Free number I could call if I had any other questions.

Which we all know would be a waste of time, if someone would even answer the call from the Toll Free number.

I would be worried that the people working at those stores would not really have an option. They would be forced to work. Of course it is true that first responders, medical practitioners, and other essential people often work on Holidays, but I am not sure that retail is really essential.

Nice to see others expressing this concern.

This weekend I will do what I do every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving-go for walks, make turkey soup, read a book, and order presents on line. Not going near a shopping center.

I think we'd be fine to close on Sundays again. It's a family issue for a lot of people. How much time do we really need the stores to be open, especially with online purchasing? Holidays should be time off and use your brain and plan your shopping banking and liquor purchases on the other days.

It's not like there's going to be more money out there available. What drives profit is not longer store hours but more demand (and spending money) from consumers. Those things might skim a little off the margins but theres a price for it in terms of stress and traffic etc. Slow down a little and enjoy your life

I agree, I'd like to see more stores closed on Sundays (or Saturdays if that happens to be your sacred day).

We can't just throw values out the window whenever "times get tight" or pretty soon nothing will matter anymore except the bottom line.

Where are the unions on THIS issue? Why don't THEY speak up on this?

Doesn't the word "Holidays" come from "Holy Days"? Have we become so consumed by consumerism that we are allowing our sacred religous and secular days to be erased and perverted? There are people out there that want Americans to be defined by their material possessions just to make a buck. Things don't make the person... things can even destroy people. Every holiday season people rack up thousands on their credit cards buying things that people don't need with money they don't have. People go into debt, and for years they are prisoners to their own devasted credit. It doesn't need to be like that....

This concludes my rant... ;)

The stores would not open if there wasn't the demand by consumers. The best way to stop them from opening earlier and earlier is to not shop at their stores, but unfortunately I don't anticipate that happening. Unfortunately these stores make these decisions, in my opinion, without consideration for their work force, because even if they only work a few hours, it is still working on a holiday. But given the tight economic times we are in, most people given the choice to make a little extra, especially around the holidays, this is a sacrifice they will justify.

At least there is no day-of sale on Christmas...

Spl01519; Mr. Ed;

Just as we have Traffic Laws to protect us from mayhem on the Roadways, we once had strong Massachusetts Blue Laws to protect our family values, and workers to have certain Holidays off.

Now that our Blue Laws have been 'watered down, or defanged' we can pass around the watchword of 'Consumer Demand' fed to us by our Corporate Masters? If the Store is closed do to a Blue Law or similar Law would their be any Consumers if the Store was closed to measure Consumer Demand? I think not.

Most feel our Corporate Master's can forgo a couple ounces of Gold by staying closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Fourth Of July. Plus surely most workers can work Overtime or other Financial incentives during the year. To thus make up for not working these few days, no matter how bleak the economy may be in my opinion.

Plus how can you put a true measured value on Family Time? Maybe lets forgo the Bain Capitol Crowd thought line and return to Family Values on these last true few Holidays.

Mr. Ed., may it be a slippery slope to assume the general Populace has Common Sense?

Common sense should prohibit shopping on Thanksgiving, but I don't think laws should.

That's my thought exactly, Mr. Ed.

It is crazy how we are responding to the hype of the media and the stores. If given the opportunity, many stores would operate on Thanksgiving (and other holidays) as they do any other mundane day of the year. It is personal choice whether someone decides to shop, true. However, it is not likely a choice for those that have to WORK on these days. I wish we were still living in the age that Mrbojangles describes where family came before a "wicked good" deal on new electronics.


A Different Thanksgiving Time In America:

I remember a different Holiday Thanksgiving time in America when it was more about families. Not about how many Flat screens one could attain, or Camping outside of Department Stores, or being pressured to work for a couple pieces' of extra silver in ones pocket.

I remember my parents having Thanksgiving day off, and the day after. On the day after Thanksgiving we would take the train into Boston and visit the Enchanted Christmas Village on the top floor of Jordan Marsh. Then view all the Christmas decorations at the Boston Common and at the State House at dusk.

Then at Thanksgiving weekend we would visit our older shut in family members and decorate the house for Christmas.

A different era in America and I am glad for those times, and those memories.