The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

December 5, 2012

Our View: Holiday bill a bad bet

A Missouri lawmaker wants to compel most retailers to remain closed on Thanksgiving, prohibiting them from opening that day to get a jump on Black Friday holiday sales.

That’s the wrong move.

We’re sympathetic with those employees who want to stay home with their families on Thanksgiving, and it would be great for retailers to dial it back a notch. There’s no reason those stores need to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, or for that matter even at midnight or 2 a.m. on Friday. Most of us won’t spend a nickel less on Christmas shopping if we start early Friday morning, rather than Thursday.

But frankly, it’s not the role of government to tell retailers when they should and should not be open.

State Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart calls his proposal the “Thanksgiving Family Protection Act” and it would require most retailers to remain closed, but it would allow restaurants, gas stations and drug stores to stay open on Thanksgiving.

What about Wal-Mart and other similar businesses, which have combined drugstores, gas stations and restaurants into one-stop shopping?

There is no clear line here that makes this legislation practical, and even if there was, decisions about when to open and close should be left to employers and employees.

The better bet is for shoppers to just stay home on Thanksgiving, and for that matter to avoid the all-night shopping frenzy that kicks off Black Friday at midnight for many retailers. Then maybe owners will get the message and realize they don’t need to open earlier and earlier. Stores will still do the same amount of business by opening at 8 a.m. Friday.

We all agree that families are something for which we should be thankful, but so is unintrusive government.

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