If you haven’t heard the kerfuffle over stores beginning their Black Fridays in the middle of Thursday (aka Thanksgiving) this year, then:
a) Please tell me which rock you hide under, so I may join you.
b) How are you reading this?
In central Iowa, the charge is led by Jordan Creek Mall, where a long list of stores are opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day, and staying open more than 24 hours straight, up to Friday night.
Nothing good happens at Abercrombie & Fitch during daylight hours. Can you imagine what will happen there at 3am? Actually, don’t, I’m pretty sure you can go to jail just for answering that question.
This shines a spotlight on the three states were “Blue Laws” prohibit certain stores from opening on Thanksgiving and Christmas. “Blue Laws,” common in New England, are the ancestor of no-alcohol-sales-on-Sundays laws in places such as Minnesota. Originally put in place to protect the Sabbath, over time the laws have become less “this is God’s day off” and more “this is our goddamn day off.”
In Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, certain stores are banned from opening on certain holidays, under certain conditions.
Read that sentence again. That sentence is a perfect example of what happens when a reasonable complaint from reasonable citizens (Why do people have to work 24 hour shifts at the mall on Thanksgiving!) is handed off to politicians and becomes public policy.
In Maine, for example, the stores exempted from the law include: “movie theaters, restaurants, pharmacies, bowling alleys and gas station convenience stores, retail stores with fewer than five employees and less than 5,000 square feet, and establishments primarily selling boats, boating equipment, sporting equipment, souvenirs and novelties.” So you can’t go to the supermarket to buy a turkey on Thanksgiving, but you can darn sure buy a new fishing boat and go catch yourself some Thanksgiving cod. Just like Grandma used to do.
But the main reason for “brick-and-mortar” stores – what anyone born before 1995 just calls “a store” – to be open is that the Internet is open 24 hours a day. Is it fair that we expect Amazon.com to be 0pen on Thanksgiving Day, but expect Best Buy (or God forbid a local business) not to be? The economy runs on competition, and if there is money to be had on Turkey Day, then businesses will fight each other for it – just like the thousands of crazies trampling each other to get into those businesses at whatever time Black Friday starts.