The spread of Thanksgiving Day shopping has created a lot of fuss this year, but it's not a big issue in Rhode Island, Maine, or Massachusetts—because it's illegal. The three New England states have "blue laws" dating back to colonial times that ban shopping on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And despite the efforts of retail groups that complain shoppers are crossing into other states, attempts to change the laws have gone nowhere, and residents say they're happy with the break from commercialism, the AP finds. Even some retailers who could open under exemptions prefer to keep their doors shut on the day.
"Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving thanks for all you have," a Plymouth, Massachusetts, man whose ancestors took part in the first Thanksgiving tells the New York Times. "I cringe to think what society is doing to itself." Americans aren't big fans of Thanksgiving shopping—only 13% prefer stores to stay open, according to a Huffington Post/YouGov poll—though other states seem unlikely to bring in New England-style bans, especially not in a time of 24/7 Internet shopping. (Click to see which 5 stores refuse to open on "Black Thursday.")