Blue Laws

A Pizza Hut manager who refused to open his store on Thanksgiving Day gets fired… then, upon bad publicity, Pizza Hut reinstates him.

We’re now in the ‘libertarian’ era of stores open on Thanksgiving and Christmas…. and, well, all 365 days per year.

And someone in these stores have to work.

When I was in high school and college, I worked retail.

Despite what the official store policies may be, it is not “voluntary” matter whether you work on holidays. I can assure you.

There’s actually 3 states left that ban box stores from opening on Turkey Day:

While in other parts of the country retailers will offer holiday deals starting Thursday, most big stores in Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts are barred by law from opening on the holiday. It’s the legacy of so-called “blue laws,” which prohibit large supermarkets, big box stores and department stores from opening on Thanksgiving.

Some business groups complain it’s an unnecessary barrier during an era of 24-hour online shopping, and there have been some recent failed legislative attempts to change things. But many shoppers, workers and even retailers say they’re satisfied with the status quo: a one-day reprieve from work and holiday shopping.

But of course the piling on of ‘me first’ types leads to an inertia:

“I shop all year. People need to be with their families on Thanksgiving,” said Debra Wall, of Pawtucket, R.I., who will remain quite happily at home Thursday, cooking a meal for 10.

The holiday shopping frenzy has crept deeper than ever into Thanksgiving this year. Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Staples will open on Thanksgiving for the first time. Toys R Us will open at 5 p.m., and Wal-Mart, already open 24 hours in many locations, will start holiday deals at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year. In recent years, some retail employees and their supporters have started online petitions to protest stores that open on Thanksgiving — but shoppers keep coming.

Rationally speaking, if looking at the situation solely in terms of what would benefit me, someone who does not work in retail, then I ought to be in favor of every store being open 24/7 for 365 days per year. After all, who wouldn’t want every conceivable retail convenience endlessly open?

But, guess what? I’m not in favor of that.

With the almost extinct tradition of blue laws, there used to be certain days (long ago, it was every Sunday… I wonder why….), and now it’s down to be just a few days, that everyone had off in common. The idea was to ensure such days were open for everyone to gather, fraternize and socialize.

So, this is but one more reason I am a traditionalist conservative (or paleoconservative or whatever you want to call it) and not, strictly speaking, a libertarian.

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