Just how embarrassed must this guy feel for making the following statements:
Massachusetts’ attorney general is launching an investigation into several supermarkets that opened on Thanksgiving in defiance of the state’s Puritan-era Blue Laws.
The laws were passed in the 1600s to keep colonists at home or in church on Sundays. Parts of the laws, such as the ban on Sunday liquor sales, have been repealed, but a prohibition on most stores doing business on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, has not.
“If these stores want to open, there’s a way to do it: Change the law,” David Guarino, a spokesman for Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, told The Boston Globe. The office didn’t say what sort of penalty the stores could face.
The Globe reported that at least six stores, all Super 88 Markets, were open on Thanksgiving. One Super 88, in Quincy, shut down after a visit from police that day.
Imagine being David Guarino and having to tell the media – with a straight face, presumably – that the Attorney General is launching an investigation of such a ridiculous “crime”. For that matter, imagine being the Attorney General and, apparently, having so little real crime to deal with that you actually take the time to launch an investigation into the illegal sale of condensed milk. Is this really where our law enforcement priorities lie? Has the state of Massachusetts so thoroughly stamped out real crimes that they have are reduced to prosecuting cashiers for selling cranberry sauce to undercover agents?
Jeff Jacoby had an excellent article on the Massachusetts blue laws in the Boston Globe the day before Thanksgiving. He noted that Attorney General Thomas Reilly had been threatening other supermarkets that they would face penalties if they opened on Thanksgiving, even if their employees volunteered to work and were paid double time:
Consider the plight of Whole Foods Market, an international chain of natural and organic food stores, which found itself accused of planning to engage in criminal activity in its 14 Massachusetts stores this week.
What high crimes and misdemeanors was the upscale grocer plotting? It was going to open its doors for business on Thanksgiving. Shocking! It was going to sell fruit and vegetables and milk and desserts. And why? Because, as company executive David Lannon told the Globe last week, Whole Foods knows that on the most food-oriented day of the year, some consumers run out of ingredients. ”It proves to be a very busy morning for people to get flour or baked goods,” Lannon explained. ”It’s for people . . . who say, ‘Ooh, I need more butter or another bunch of celery.’ ”
In short, Whole Foods was going to make its wares available to Massachusetts customers on Thanksgiving — just as it does for customers in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and two-dozen other states nationwide. Bay State consumers panicked over an eleventh-hour shortage of dried apricots or hazelnut extract would have been able to get what they needed before the in-laws showed up at the front door. Whole Foods employees wouldn’t have been required to work, but those volunteering would have earned double pay. Willing seller, willing buyers, willing workers — an economist looking at such an arrangement would have seen the free market at its best.
The attorney general of Massachusetts looked at it and saw a crime. In a stiff letter to Whole Foods last week, Attorney General Thomas Reilly noted that under Chapter 136 of the Massachusetts legal code, ”the performance of work on legal holidays is prohibited, unless permitted by a statutory exemption.” If Whole Foods opened its doors on Thanksgiving, the letter warned, it could face ”criminal and equitable enforcement actions to enjoin violations of the Blue Laws.”
I say it’s time to repeal these idiotic laws. The government’s job is to protect us from victimization, not from the convenience of being able to pick up last minute ingredients for our peach cobbler.