Welcome to Massachusetts: you WILL have a happy Thanksgiving — or else

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The day when people traditionally spend time with their families and other loved ones, a brief respite from such concerns as work. Most businesses are closed, and those that do open usually only staff minimally, with healthy incentives.

Several years ago, I worked for a company that prided itself on being open 365 days a year. We were all told that we could all expect to work on at least one of the Big Four (4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s). I always volunteered to work the 4th and Thanksgiving. Not only would I collect 20 hours pay for 8 hours work (8 hours pay at mandatory time-and-a-half overtime, plus 8 hours holiday pay), but I’d be off the hook to take vacation during the Christmas rush. It was a great racket.

But that choice isn’t open to people of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts law mandates that nearly all retailers close on Thanksgiving. The only exceptions are pharmacies, convenience stores, and gas stations. And Massachusetts’ Attorney General, Tom Reilly (apparently resentful that his hopes that illegal aliens get in-state tuition rates at Massachusetts colleges), is cracking down on that law this year. He’s sent out warning letters to Wal-Mart, the Whole Foods natural grocery store chain, Family Dollar, and Big Lots telling them that they WILL lock their doors and they WILL spend time with their families and they WILL enjoy the holiday, under penalty of law.

Ah, Massachusetts. The state where everything is either mandatory or forbidden. The perfect place to be if you don’t want to think for yourself, and wish to be relieved of the tiresome burden of freedom.

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