Extended Hours “Limit” Consumer Choice

Sunday, November 20, 2005
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Imagine 400-year-old laws, still on the books, that dictate the hours of business to a private enterprise. Massachusetts is still catering to the Puritans, a few centuries later: turkey-head-bush.jpg

Many of the state’s Puritan-era blue laws, passed in the 1600s to keep colonists at home or in church on Sundays, have been repealed, such as a ban of liquor sales on Sundays. But one that remains in effect requires all stores, except convenience stores and gas stations, to close on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The legal people of Shaw’s Supermarkets filed a complaint with the state attorney general when they found out that the Whole Foods supermarket chain had planned to keep some of its stores open on Thanksgiving day (gasp!). Thus did Whole Foods back out under pressure, and decide to not open any stores. The following quote, from some nitwit at Shaw Supermarkets, is stunning in its ignorance of markets and its definition of what is advantageous to consumers.

“Besides disadvantaging competitors, a Whole Foods opening would harm consumers, due to lack of choice in the marketplace for consumers to shop and compare prices for the best deal,” Shaw’s legal department wrote to Reilly on Nov. 4.

Surely the good folks at Shaw’s have “consumer choice” as their top priority.

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