And yet we encounter stories denouncing “the war on Thanksgiving.” Haven’t you heard, bellows Dean Obeidallah at The Daily Beast, that “thousands of [people] will be compelled to leave their Thanksgiving celebrations to go to work” because down-on-their-luck chains such as K-Mart are opening as early as 6 a.m on Thursday. “Stand up for the real meaning of Thanksgiving,” opines T.J. McCormack at Foxnews.com, and “skip the shopping on Turkey Day.” Facebook pages such as Boycott Black Thursday and Boycott Shopping on Thanksgiving Day are easier to find than the cans of jellied cranberry sauce you bought last year after worrying the supermarket would be sold out by the time you remembered to get some this year.
Enough already. The only thing worth getting bent out of shape over is that it took the nation’s retailers so long to move the nation’s biggest sales day, Black Friday, up by 24 hours and give us all one more reason not to watch the Detroit Lions get shellacked on TV. We’ve already been going out to the movies in greater and greater numbers over the years, so why not also pick up a Star Wars Trooper T at the Gap (open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at most locations, by the way)?
Those of us who are old enough to recall little-remembered and even less-loved “blue laws” can only cheer the growth in 24/7 shopping. Dating back to the colonial times and religious in origin, blue laws severely limited whether stores could open at all on certain days of the year and what sorts of goods they could offer. Growing up in 1970s New Jersey, for instance, supermarkets could sell milk, bread, cold cuts, and other “necessities” on Sundays but whole aisles were literally roped off because the Sabbath was no day for frivolous purchases (especially of the alcoholic variety). Picking up furniture or clothes would have to wait til Monday.