As Thanksgiving approaches, we begin to look forward to time with family, delicious turkey, and football. But for some, the real holiday comes after the feast: Black Friday. This day of frenzied shopping increases in popularity every year as more stores offer sales and more people get out their wallets to take advantage of them. Across the country, businesses are looking for ways to maximize their profits—including opening early on Thanksgiving Day itself. You may see this as contrary to the spirit of the holiday, and if so, you’re not alone. Laws written hundreds of years ago in the New England states of Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts—where Thanksgiving traditionally began—prohibit stores from opening on the holiday.
Old Laws Still Alive
“Blue laws,” as they are called, are laws that prohibit people from doing certain things, like shopping or hunting, on certain days (most often Sundays). Though most of these laws have religious origins, many of them have been upheld by courts as constitutional. The three New England states’ bans on shopping on Thanksgiving (as well as Christmas, for good measure) qualify as blue laws.
How have these laws stayed in force as time has passed? Well, like we said before, many people just don’t think shopping sprees and Thanksgiving go together. In this article in Huffington Post, the president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Jon. B. Hurst, explains that there hasn’t been much demand for Thanksgiving shopping. But he acknowledges that many people probably just travel to other states to get their fix of discounted items.
Black Friday Tips
If you’re someone who loves to get out with the crowds on Black Friday, or even Thanksgiving Day, you probably know that it can be a dangerous thing. Anxious shoppers itching to get their hands on a great deal can sometimes throw caution to the wind. In the past several years, there have been numerous cases of injury and even death caused by Black Friday-related stampedes, fights, and traffic. Don’t let enticing bargains put you in danger:
- Protect yourself
- Don’t buy too much and protect your belongings. Black Friday crowds are prime feeding grounds for pick-pockets. Make sure to keep close track of your wallet and keys.
- Protect your kids
- If you take children with you, keep a close eye on them and have a plan if you get separated.
- Be a Peacemaker
- Do your best to avoid confrontations, both in the store and in the parking lot. Impatience will be running high, and road rage is a real possibility. Resolve beforehand to keep a level head.
We at Christensen and Hymas wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving!