Laws Leave Mass. in the Cold on Black Friday

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Retailers across the U.S. are rolling back the clock on Black Friday, opening their doors at midnight, and in some cases on Thanksgiving Day.   

"It's the super bowl for retail, essentially," Best Buy manager Dave Dicker son said.

"You've got your turkey in you that you're still dealing with -- so do we," he added. "We are dealing with the same amount of sleep that you are, which is zero.  Everybody is here to have a good time, so let's just make it a good experience."

In Massachusetts, however, 17th century "blue laws" forbid retail workers from clocking in until 12 a.m. after Thanksgiving, making it hard to open doors to customers at midnight.

"It's an issue of getting everything ready Wednesday night before they all leave, then really clocking in the employees at 12 and immediately open the doors, which is logistically a very tough thing to do," explained Jon Hurst, president of the Massachusetts Retailers Association.
    
The laws would require workers to race in to work alongside customers racing in to shop.
    
Retailers say it's costing them business, and some lawmakers say the state is losing money too.

Rep. Colleen Garry, D-Mass., is pushing a bill to relax blue laws for the holiday.

"We already have the issues with the sales tax," Garry said. "We just want to be able to roll back a little bit on the blue laws to help make it a level playing field for the business in Massachusetts."
     
Meanwhile, Massachusetts shoppers are watching and waiting to get into the early bargain-hunting game.

"I think as a consumer it would be a nice added convenience, especially during such a busy holiday season. Sure," Mass. consumer Glen MacDonald said.
    
With blue laws lifted, Black Friday will generate some additional "green" for Massachusetts retailers, something that's critical when holiday sales make up about a fifth of annual sales.

"In these times we don't want to send our consumers to sellers over the border or Internet," Hurst said. "Let's make sure consumers are leaving their dollars here in commonwealth."

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