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.


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