Thanksgiving Shopping: There Oughta Be a Law

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

My friends and family know that I am passionate about certain things during the holidays.

I’m a passionate supporter of the Salvation Army bell ringers. I’m passionate about not setting up Christmas lights or hearing Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.

And, probably most of all, I am intensely passionate about not shopping on Thanksgiving, enjoying the holiday with family and friends rather than simply planning how to get a plasma TV for 50% off.

Since some major stores are crossing the sacred threshold by staying open on Thanksgiving, or opening at midnight, the issue is starting to get national attention. Both a Target employee and a Best Buy employee have circulated petitions to protest their employers’ decision to join the early opening craze.

I’ve long been disgusted with the commercial encroachment on this nation’s one holiday that is the least commercial. As the final frontier was being invaded this year, I often wondered, is the situation hopeless? Can anything be done? Shouldn’t there be a law against this?

Then, I read the small print on a K-Mart advertisement, bragging how they will be open from 6AM-9PM. The small print read that those were the hours at every store except the ones in Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The shops in those three brilliant states cannot open on Thanksgiving because it’s against the law.

These three states have the temerity, the audacity, and the courage to actually preserve the sanctity of one of America’s most sacred holidays.

Somehow, this Draconian law that limits pure unadulterated capitalism for one day a year hasn’t sunk the economies of these states.

I’ve rarely been one to think that new laws can really be a solution to a problem. However, in this case, I would love to hear polling numbers on general support for a measure like this in Colorado.

While Coloradans generally like to keep the government’s role in our lives limited, I think this is an issue that Coloradans could get behind. We still have “blue laws” on the books that keep car dealers closed on Sundays. Since mobs have yet to rise up and overturn this traditional law, I think that a law that keeps stores closed on Thanksgiving would have a shot.

But, let’s be realistic. While Colorado voters may support an issue like this, we’ll never see a law like this be proposed in Colorado. The corporations that own the stores that open on Thanksgiving have far greater influence on our laws than mere citizens do.

While I would love to see a law prohibit stores from turning Thanksgiving into the “Day Before Black Friday”, I know it’s not going to happen.

If citizens really want to see this happen, it won’t be done with their votes for elected leaders, it’ll be with the votes they place with their wallet. If they shop, stores will open. If they stay home and enjoy a day of turkey, stuffing and charades with family, stores may eventually get the hint.

It’s just that simple, and sadly, just that unrealistic to expect the trend to slow anytime soon.

But, the season of expecting miracles will soon be upon us. Maybe, just maybe, Thanksgiving of 2012 will be the one where stores don’t brag about being open on Thanksgiving Day, but will brag about giving their employees the entire day to spend with their families.

It’d take a miracle.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

  • Beth McCorkle


    I agree with you 100%! People need to stay home on Thanksigivng and Christmas and stores should NEVER open at midnight after the holiday, 5 am is just fine and actually still too early in my mind. I remember years ago on Thanksgiving my mom ran out of a spice or something like that and we ran into town to 7-11 which was the only store opened and only for a few hours. Even then we said it was sad that 7-11 was opened, those poor people should have he whole day off to spend with their families. Stay home people, that is the only way we will ever make point to the store owners.

  • Alan

    Let the free market work. If enough people don’t like the idea of stores being open on holidays and choose not to shop there then that store will lose money on those days and decide for themselves not open on holidays any more. I think you will find, however, that plenty of folks will shop on those days. Government telling businesses when they can or cannot be open is ludicrous. Perhaps it hasn’t sunk the economies in those areas you mentioned, but in the long run it can never be good. This is what people don’t understand about the free market system. Without the government poking their fingers into every little aspect of business, either by passing laws that dictate how a business operates or by financially propping up those in trouble, a good business will prosper and a bad business will fail and go away, to be replaced by another that will either succeed or fail. If you don’t like a product, don’t buy it. If you don’t like the way a business operates, don’t go there. Demanding that the government ‘do something about it’ is childish in my eyes.

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