By Ron Sanders, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — “Black Friday” is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and it seems like every store is open.

But what about Thanksgiving Day?

Stellar from Watertown Declared his Curiosity asking, “What is allowed to be open on Thanksgiving?  My gym is open but the grocery store is not. Is this normal or even  legal?”

The answer is in the details.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports.

You may have seen the ads for major stores that are open Thanksgiving Day, some for the first time in their history.  That does not apply in Massachusetts. 
WBZ found many families shopping the day before Thanksgiving at Kmart and Sears, two big chains advertising they’ll be open Thanksgiving Day across the country. 

If you read the fine print, that’s prohibited by law in Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island where those stores will be closed.
Ron Sanders asked shoppers whether they would like to shop on Thanksgiving or if there would be pressure to shop if the stores were open.

“Absolutely not,” replied Lousie Barnes of Plymouth. “Because Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks and being with family and carrying on that tradition.”
“There wouldn’t be any pressure cause I wouldn’t do it.  It’s a family day. Rather be with the family,” said James McDonald of Chelsea.
Kmart’s web site says some of its Massachusetts store will be open and others will be closed Thanksgiving, but a corporate spokesman says none will be open in the Bay State. 

Massachusetts law allows some stores to be open on Thanksgiving including pharmacies, grocery and convenience stores, bakeries, flower shops, gas stations, pet stores, laundries, car washes and beauty salons but not major department stores and retailers.
“Personally, I wouldn’t shop, but if people want to, it’s up to them,” said Gina Fico of Weymouth.  “You can buy so much online; why would you want to be in a store?”
“I’d rather not have the pressure. Thanksgiving’s for families and having time at home with your family, and I believe that’s important,” remarked Deborah Brown of Dorchester.
“The employees need to have a chance to have a day off too,” added Janis Urbanek of Westwood.
While a couple of shoppers said it would be alright for people to have the option of shopping on Thanksgiving, a couple of others said they’d like to see a return to the more stringent and traditional blue laws in the land of the pilgrims’ pride. 
Kmart has a 19-year tradition of being open on Thanksgiving in other states. This will be the first year Sears will be open on Thanksgiving. A top Sears executive says that decision was based on customer response.

Comments (16)
  1. macmum says:

    Another holiday commercialized. What ever happend to spending time with your family on the holidays as opposed to beating someone else to the last sale item on the shelf?

    1. jumpygrouch says:

      sometimes people forget an ingredient and they need to get to the store! why should puritanical values inhibit them from doing so? what if you have an accident and need something to replace your dessert or turkey? in this day and age it’s easy to get anything, why shouldn’t people be able to do so?

  2. Karen R Mangan says:

    if they want to open on thanksgiving open it at night for few hours like 6pm-10pm and dont reopen untill 5am

  3. Snowflake says:

    GREED, GREED AND MORE GREED. That’s what runs America. Tradition and family are no longer whaty holidays are about.

  4. Bruce says:

    Hey Jumpy…when we were kids they didn’t even have gas stations open on the holidays…for that matter Sundays either. If you forget an ingredient or something thats called PPPP. And what’s worse statement a clerk in a convenience store hears on holdiays??
    “Oh too bad you have to work on the holiday” Well, if you didn’t shop on these days maybe we could close…..

  5. Paul Clark says:

    Tanksgiving is an afternoon holiday. The family shows up at 1pm. For those of us who don’t have to cook, we go strir crazy from 8am til noon. It would be nice to go somewhere besides CVS.

  6. uber doober says:

    How about people who are away from family and having nothing to do depresses them even more.Or the ones who don’t care for their family, or the ones who don’t celebrate?
    This year my family is all over seas and I begged my boss to let me come in and work today just so I don’t have sit at home all day missing everyone…

  7. TiaMaria says:

    They should change the name Thanksgiving to “Let’s get persecuted by the Dysfunctional Family Day”…Sit back and enjoy! :) Happy thanksgiving everyone…. Good luck to all the shoppers out there tomorrow..

  8. s3ttt says:

    Not everyone has a family to go to and everyone has a different lifestyle. I personally don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and never have as I’ve always lived alone. Retailers in 98% of the country are open, but I can’t even buy a bottle of wine on Thanksgiving here.

    If you want to spend time with your family and not buy stuff…then don’t, but the law should allow retailers and shoppers to make their own decisions.

    I’d like to be able to do more than be trapped in my apartment with nothing to do and nothing to eat during every holiday. Thanks MA, you suck.

    1. Lily says:

      can’t agree more. A terrible day for people away from their families.

  9. The Batman says:

    If Massachusetts sucks so much and you have such a terrible life then you owe it to yourself to do something about it. Move to another state or another part of the country that goes along with your point of view. Think of the people that would prefer to be with family and are forced to work because the business they work for says they have to or will lose their job or can’t afford not to work because of the economy. If you live alone and have nothing to fill your time other than work, then you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get a life and some interests and stop thinking everyone and everything around you has to change to accomadate you and your choices. Massachusetts isn’t perfect and neither is anywhere else but we are doing a lot better than many other parts of the country and the rest of the world. Stop thinking only about yourself and be thankful for what you do have, A place to live, a roof over your head, food to eat, a job, etc. You’re better off than most, it’s time to start appreciating it and stop finding fault with evertthing.

  10. manny says:

    MA does not suck. Best place for the DUH! Leave your brains at home. You don’t need that. Why use it? The government will take care of everything. They will decide what you can do and what you should not. Next time just vote for another candidate that best decides your life and living for you.
    Thank the government! they forced us to stay at home on Thanksgiving else everyone would be in the streets not knowing what do do with their lives.

  11. macmum says:

    Obviously this shopping time is an opportunity for everyone – except the people that have to work. It’s no puritanical to want your family members sitting at the table with you instead of standing at a reigster helping people “check out”. There are some jobs in which some have to work in the area of emergency services because it’s important to be there to answer the 911 call. But being “on duty” to sell Christmas presents shouldn’t be one of them. And if you burn your pie, then you might want to just focus on what you do have and be thankful for it.

  12. emom says:

    the worst part of this shopping holiday is, the retailers do not have enough stock to sell, especially what they advertise, instead they entice you to come in early and stand in line in the hopes to obtain the ultimate gifts, well guess what one, you wont get what your want, two, you just woke up for nothing and 3 it stinks…….
    also the stores have just shot them se;fs in the foot,, if they strive to MAKE MONEY, then why dont they have a huge supply of these super sales… what are they so afraid of,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, PROFIT , GAINS, AND QUOTA.. gee,,,, I THOUGHT THE IDEA WAS TO GAIN SALES TO GAIN PROFIT TO NO GO OUT OF BUSINESS…. what do they do instead,,,,,, have no items to sell so no sales and no profit,,,,,,,, HOW FREAKIN STUPID IS THAT……………… CRAZY AS HECK

  13. Ron T says:

    I’m glad in MA the main shopping centers are closed for the holiday.

    Black Friday is bad enough with some malls opening at midnight!!

    That is one day, I choose to stay away from the shopping centers, too much insanity with traffic snarls and overcrowded stores, not worth it for me!!

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