BOSTON (CBS) – The headline on a Wall Street Journal story caught my eye: “Why are retailers ruining Thanksgiving?”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Wow, that sounds serious. It seems that the plans by some major chains to open for shoppers on Thursday night is prompting quite the backlash.

Read: Black Friday: When Do Malls, Stores Open?

A longtime employee of one national chain has collected hundreds of thousands of signatures on an online petition to force them to back off their plan to open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.

“The quest for the almighty dollar has become ridiculous,” wrote one petition signer.

And the Journal quotes one industry analyst saying: “Retailers have basically ruined every holiday. They have commercialized every single holiday by creating a good reason to promote something and drive traffic.”

I’m with the protestors who insist employees not be pressured to work on a holiday against their will.

And I agree with the notion that it’s a good idea to set aside certain days during the year for family time and personal reflection, keeping them exempt from the pressures and preoccupations of everyday life.

But I can’t quite accept the idea that people who want to shop on Thanksgiving and the retailers who want to accommodate them shouldn’t be allowed to do their thing.

For eight of the last nine years, turkey day has been the busiest online shopping day of the year. And like it or not, plenty of people don’t really want to spend every minute of the big day at home.

There’s a demand there, and while some may find it distasteful, they really have no business imposing their values on others, including the merchants who want to meet that demand.

How about this: no coercion of workers who want to celebrate the holiday; no coercion of shoppers who don’t.

Call that plan a reminder of what it is we’re being thankful for.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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