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TELL US: Should Mass. Blue Laws Be Eliminated?

Blue laws prohibit retailers from opening before midnight on Black Friday.

Black Friday is starting earlier than ever, as some national retailers have announced they will open the night of Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 22. However, here in Massachusetts, state blue laws prohibit stores from opening until midnight, according to a report by the Boston Globe. 

Current blue laws prohibit retailers in the state from opening on Thanksgiving, thus preventing them from getting an early start on Black Friday sales, according to the Globe article. Some exceptions are restaurants, health care facilities and gas stations. 

The laws, instituted in the 17th century, are intended to make sure holidays are properly observed, according to the Boston Globe. 

Are Massachusetts' blue laws outdated? Should they be eliminated? Tell us in the comments section below.

deb of see-attleboro November 16, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Maybe once the blue laws are completely eliminated, we will see the union ranks grow in number. Who else is going to protect workers from exploitation? Maybe that's the point. Be careful what you wish for.
Avon Barksdale November 16, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Richard, please tell us in which other situations the government should decide our priorities for us, thanks.
Richard W. Lunt November 16, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Avon, Other than the Blue Laws, the government should stay out of our lives. The current Blue Laws are much more relaxed than they once were, I remember during the 70's and early 80's here in Massachusetts the retailers were not allowed to open on Sunday's let alone on holidays. I think the current Blue Law system works best, stores are able to open on Sundays, and are not allowed to be open on Thanksgiving and Christmas, two of the most important family holidays of the year.
Ruth Boncorddo November 16, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I think the old laws should be put back. I've worked jobs where I had to work Sundays and wanted to be with my family. Nowadays people are always trying to think of ways to get away from family time. There is plenty of shopping time without getting rid of blue laws. People don't spend more if stores are opened more. There is definitely too much craziness with all these sales. I use to love Christmas shopping when people were happy and looking around. Now people are grabbing, fighting, pushing, etc. and took all the joy out of Christmas shopping. I now give money or shop online.
Avon Barksdale November 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM
The Blue Laws are the one exception, and government should not interfere anywhere else? Great, let's get all the abortion laws off the books and get government out of telling people who they can and cannot marry. Thanks for your support on this.
Avon Barksdale November 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Actually it would likely result in far more increases in temporary and part-time help and have almost no impact on union ranks, no need to worry about what will actually happen though, right?
Stoughton12 November 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
RIchard and I are taking the point of view that if the store you work at decides to open on Thanksgiving, someone has to be there to operate it. Until stores are run by the robots, they will need to be run by employees that have a good chance of having relatives that just might want to see them over the holiday. So instead of sitting down and having dinner\lunch or what have you, they are at Target waiting on people that don't care about their families or maybe buying their tv dinner. You have obviously been fortunate enough not to have a family member miss a meal with their loved ones unlike the doctors, nurses, healthcare, fire, police etc etc go through each year to cover shifts. Granted, they are there to save lives, not to sell a trinket you can get the next day. So go ahead, repeal the Blue laws, and when it's your turn to miss a family gathering so you can cover your shift at 7-11 so you can sell a quart of egg nog.
Avon Barksdale November 16, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I've had plenty of jobs that required coverage on holidays. Including crisis coverage for persons with disabilities. Guess what, they still need help on holidays, it's not like you can shut down group homes and hospitals and say "we'll get back to those folks on December 26th." Just because some people might miss dinner is no reason to hold the retail industry hostage.
Richard W. Lunt November 16, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Avon, Those are other areas the government should have some say in.
Avon Barksdale November 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Perhaps a list tucked in your shirt pocket would help you remember better next time. Love your ideas on freedom, keep up the good work.
Just Saying November 16, 2012 at 05:50 PM
So you can't go shopping on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it's ok to go to a movie? Now I get it!
deb of see-attleboro November 16, 2012 at 06:29 PM
And don't forget those Thanksgiving Day high school football rivalries!! Who ever came up with that nonsense anyway?
mark November 16, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Are Blue Laws hurting anyone? What's the harm in keeping them in the books?
Just Saying November 16, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine are the only states that prohibit retail stores from opening on Thanksgiving. Many people that want to shop will just go to NH to shop & they won't be paying any sales tax. Less sales tax revenue hurts everyone in the state, in one way or another.
Jack November 16, 2012 at 10:00 PM
@Carol Staggered openings give people more time to hit up all the stores they want. They can be at Wally World from 8-10, Target 10-12, etc, etc. They'd be more likely to spend more money if they visit more stores. And, the more they travel, the more gas (or public transportation) they use, and that's additional money. It also means companies pay their employees more cash (which will put money in their pockets to spend) and means they are paying more employment taxes. By your logic, we should shutter all stores and just give each other checks for the holidays.
deb of see-attleboro November 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Just saying: If this is no big deal then why are there rumors that retail giants such as Walmart and Target will experience job actions nationwide this holiday season?
alan lury November 16, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Its okay with me... lets also open the stores at 9pm on Christmas Days so we get those after Christmas exchanges and sales started sooner!!!!.... Taken and unwrapped from under the tree at 7am...back in the return lines at 915 pm!.. only in good old USofA
Just Saying November 16, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I didn't say it was no big deal. And, since retail stores have traditionally been closed on Thanksgiving, I would expect there would be some backlash from the employees the first few years, until it becomes the norm. But there is a right way & a wrong way to entice employees to work, and Walmart & Target have yet to figure that out.
Darren Major November 17, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I have no issue with blue laws - why not have a litte peace - not every moment of the week has to dedicated to someone's bottom line - give that time to people and their families or what ever private thing they want to do
Darren Major November 17, 2012 at 04:10 AM
In a western state I lived in - overtime charged at 3x normal wage was required on holidays - it certainly cut down on holiday business
Crazedkooks November 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I think we need to take a minute here and regroup. The "Blue Laws" are in place for several reasons. Lets take away the spending, the shopping, money and greed and think about what the holidays originally mean. Thanksgiving is not supposed to be about shopping or deals or parking spaces. Christmas is definitely not about gifts or Santa. We as a whole have succumbed to the false meaning of these holidays. We are in a world of I want, I want, I want. If we get rid of the Blue Laws then please remove the holidays as there will no longer be any meaning to them.
deb of see-attleboro November 18, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I agree. There really is no point to holidays. Get rid of the blue laws. Get rid of all holidays. Every day should be just like the next day and just like the day before. In fact, every day should be gray. No more sun, no more clouds. Let's eliminate color. Who needs green. Who needs red or white or blue. I want all my music to be the blues and all my days to be gray.
Just Saying November 18, 2012 at 05:22 PM
If you are unable to find meaning in the holidays due to the fact that some stores choose to open, then you have already lost the meaning.
Fiscal Conservative November 18, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I'm not going to shop between now and New Years, at the minimum. I don't believe that one has to "buy" for holiday spirit. As I said earlier, I'm an "Old Fart" set in my ways. I had, in earlier times, been caught up in the "spend to keep up with the Jone's way of life. It did nothing for me, except cause tension in the family. Now, the kids are grown and they have to put up with the mess that retailers put on people. For the spouse and I, Thanksgiving (family visiting) and Christmas will be quiet, sitting by the fire after church. We'll have a nice Prime Rib dinner at Christmas, talk to family (our closest are 250 miles away. They should spend Christmas with their children, at home, not travelling to our place) and crash early. Grethcen Robinson: we're not heathens, as you may think. Children & grandchildren are definately taken care of, just not the way you would want. Next day, meet our children half way to pick up the grandkids for a week of fun. New Year's eve, our annual celebration with the grandkids "Three Stooges Marathon". Bed before midnight. Why celebrate another year of bills, dysfunctional govt (fed & state) and so many other things going on that are wrong. I'm not shelling out money for overpriced, lousy food and crappy entertainment. Yeah, Gretchen Robinson, the more that I think about it, I'm a real, first class "old Fart". At least I'm honest enough to admit my faults, unlike others.
GiRRL_Earth November 20, 2012 at 05:41 PM
If the Blue Laws are eliminated and in turn, retail stores are allowed to open during the holiday, then that will mean people will have to work and retail managers will have to find employees willing to work. I say, keep the blue laws and give people a rest! If you worked in retail, would you want to work during the holiday or would you prefer a chance to relax and enjoy the holiday? I can remember a time when retail stores were not allowed to open on Sundays, the exception was pharmacies and gas stations. I remember Sundays were quiet -- barely anyone was out driving, roads were quieter... it was nice. IMHO I think we should go back to that. Everyone deserves a day of rest!
GiRRL_Earth November 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I also agree.
GiRRL_Earth November 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM
agreed.
GiRRL_Earth November 20, 2012 at 05:52 PM
That's a good point. Why bother when everything is open 24/7. I work for a large private firm and the only time we close is when the stock market is closed. Otherwise, we are open for business. At the rate we are headed, there will be no such thing as a "holiday".
GiRRL_Earth November 20, 2012 at 05:54 PM
@Richard I too remember during the 70s and 80s when pretty much everything was closed on Sundays. It was nice. I wish we could go back to that.
GiRRL_Earth November 20, 2012 at 05:55 PM
What's with Avon's straw man arguments? Talk about taking this topic off course. :-|

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