Some Mass. stores opening later on Black Friday
WOBURN, Mass. -- Black Friday and blue laws are not compatible for some retailers. Many stores in Massachusetts will have to change their plans to open early to comply with the 17th century laws that are still on the books.
Stores are able to open at midnight on Friday, but employees can’t work one minute before that time, making it difficult for large stores, like Target, to do prep work for the expected large crowds. That’s why many stores in Massachusetts are pushing their openings back.
Retailers are trying to find the balance between trying to cash in big on Black Friday shopping, and the age-old blue laws that restrict when stores can open.
“We’re one of only two states nationwide that you can’t open on Thanksgiving, but those blue law restrictions for Thanksgiving also cover labor, not just selling of product,” said Jon Hurst of the Massachusetts Retailers Association.
That means that no retailer can have workers punch the clock before midnight, making a 12:01 a.m. opening for big stores tough. In New Hampshire, there are no such restrictions.
“I think there’s no question some consumers are going to hop in their cars and go elsewhere,” Hurst said.
"If they're having the sales and they open at midnight, that would encourage people to go up north more so than stay here in Mass. and wait for the stores to open at one," said Debra Vickford, a shopper.
Many say the blue laws are outdated.
“It's very old-fashioned. I'd rather stay up from Thanksgiving and go shopping early instead of get up at five or six in the morning," said one shopper.
Mike Papetti admitted that his family pulls Black Friday all nighters to get the must-have toys of the season.
“Oh absolutely. Anything to see the kids’ faces Christmas morning with what they really wanted,” said Papetti.
The demand is there. That’s why nationwide, stores are advertising midnight openings. But, people in the Bay State should plan on sleeping in. Stores like Walmart will open their doors at 4 a.m., Best Buy at 1 a.m., and Target at 1 a.m., which is the earliest opening ever for that store.
“That was a major part of the reason why we decided to change the hours was to stay competitive and respond to what are guests is looking for,” said Lauren Tracey, Target employee.
Because stores in Massachusetts will be open at different hours on Black Friday, it is suggested that whatever store you want to shop at, check the store’s hours before leaving home. The Massachusetts Retailers Association would like to see a change to the blue laws.
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