MA retail employees safe from Thanksgiving opening

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Retailers like JCPenney and Macy’s have announced that they will begin their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. However, that won’t be the case in Massachusetts. The Blue Laws date back to the Puritans; they make it illegal for retailers to open before midnight.

A familiar scene repeats every November. Shoppers huddled for warmth, wait in line for a bargain. “I hate it. I disapprove and will not be taking part in any of it regardless of how awesome the deals are,” said LouAnn Bierwert of Leeds.

This year, big retailers like JCPenney and Macy’s have announced they’ll open for sales on Thanksgiving, to the disapproval of many. “I’m definitely annoyed with the sales starting so early I found it offensive to have Christmas product advertising before Halloween had even come and gone. The idea of stores being open on Thanksgiving is just not fair to the people who have to work in them,” said Susan Baron of Whately.

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine are the three states where that will not happen. The earliest a retailer can legally open is midnight, and even then, it’s illegal to have employees in the store getting ready before then.

This year, YES Computers in Northampton is taking a new approach to their Black Friday sales. They are operating under the philosophy that there is a time for business, and a time for family.

“On Friday at 9 o’clock, but extend the sale for three days, so no rush. Same sale no matter what time you get here. We’re not going to run out of anything. It’s just going to be better for the staff and I know it’s going to be better for customers, not having to wait outside in the cold,” said Mark Wineburg, the President of YES Computers.

Still, others enjoy the annual Black Friday retail rush. Massachusetts stands to loose money to stores in neighboring states where the Blue Laws don’t apply.

The Massachusetts Retailers Association told 22News they would support a law to repeal the Blue Laws, saying it would put Massachusetts retailers on an even playing field with surrounding states.

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