Our Opinion: Protect families by closing (some) stores?
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Should family values be legislated?
Do we entrust our elected representatives with imposing singular, specific values for all Missouri families?
Will accommodations or exceptions be made for dysfunctional families? What about for people without families?
What if state law clashes with the law of supply and demand — a basic business principle?
These are only a sampling of questions legislators will confront if and when they address the “Thanksgiving Family Protection Act.”
The bill to prohibit most retailers from opening on Thanksgiving has been filed by state Rep. Jeff Roorda, an incoming Democrat from Barnhart. Exempt from the prohibition would be gas stations, restaurants and pharmacies.
The act reflects reaction to Black Friday encroachment on the family-oriented Thanksgiving holiday.
Store openings for the Black Friday shopping frenzy continually have moved forward, so much so that a number of retailers were flinging open their doors this year before some families had finished their pumpkin pie.
We appreciate Roorda’s concern and public displeasure with earlier openings that may force retail employees to choose between family and work.
That displeasure, however, is not universal. If it were, no one would be standing in line to take advantage of earlier store openings on Thanksgiving.
The Norman Rockwell image of the holiday, family gathering is not always representational.
Some families celebrate Thanksgiving not on the holiday, but on the following Saturday or Sunday. Some family members choose not to attend gatherings. Some people have no family gathering to attend. Some people are more eager to participate in holiday shopping than family dinners.
Roorda’s bill is as much “business restriction” as “family protection.”
Business associations — including Associated Industries of Missouri and the Missouri Retailers Association — already have raised objections.
We share their opposition.
Let businesses consider customer demand and decide when to open.
Let individual families determine what values to protect.
And let retail workers make the same adult decisions people who are not exempt from working on Thanksgiving must make each year.