The Mall of America Is Taking Thanksgiving Off. So Should Everyone.

Holidays are for fighting with your family — not shopping

By Diane Rommel

 
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07 October 2016

Right or left, blue or red, flyover or coast, Americans say the same thing:

Things feel out of control. They don't recognize their country anymore. They feel like they live in a place that values commerce over family. Where businesses bully them, pressure them, ruin their lives. 

And all in the name of a buck. 

It's pervasive, this sense that the little guy has been overwhelmed by forces out of his reach. That sentiment powered the Bernie Sanders campaign, it's powering the Trump campaign, and it's powering the drag on Hillary Clinton's. 

Let's take one small corner of it: the new — and odious — trend of shopping on Thanksgiving. 

Wasn't that long ago that you'd be lucky to find a gas station open on Thanksgiving. Then stores started opening at 3 a.m. on Black Friday. One a.m., then midnight. Now some shops keep normal hours on Thanksgiving, the holiday that unites the country best — the holiday that should offer everyone, even employees at Auntie Anne's, a day to spend with their families. 

Why can't we stop it? Because we can't help ourselves. And laws that other countries use to keep certain days sacrosanct (like our own "blue laws" of old) won't fly here anymore. France strongly restricts Sunday shopping outside of limited tourist areas (not even all of Paris qualifies, just certain neighborhoods), while Berlin allows shopping on Sundays on a grand total of eight days a year. And that's just on a normal Sunday — not the country's putative most-inclusive national holiday. But hey: They're socialists. We're capitalists! Anything goes, right? 

Today, however, brought good news to the fight to keep Thanksgiving for families: The Mall of America in Minnesota, the most storied shopping center in all the land, has announced its decision to close doors on Thanksgiving

Last year, most Mall of America stores opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and stayed open through the night. But retail experts don't expect the decision to stay closed on the holiday to affect sales. Four hundred thousand shoppers were expected to hit the Mall of America over the four-day shopping period; now that it's limited to three, experts predict that the same number of shoppers will visit ... just not on Thanksgiving Day. 

So shop owners take a negligible loss, if any, and thousands of employees get to have Thanksgiving dinner with their families, without keeping an eye on the clock. 

Here's hoping this kicks off a common-sense trend, one that prioritizes family and togetherness over squeezing the very last dollar out of the holiday shopping period. 

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