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Step away from that turkey!

November 20, 2005

The Washington Post reports that the government of Massachusetts is threatening the grocery chain Whole Foods with criminal penalties for the unspeakable crime of...considering opening on Thanksgiving.

I'm familiar with blue laws, but until I read this I didn't realize that some states' blue laws apply to holidays. As an example of business using government to quash competition, it doesn't get any better than this. The attention on Whole Foods is a result of a complaint by a competing grocery store chain. Of course, they only have workers' welfare in mind, claiming the laws "protect workers from pressure to give up their holidays" (my mother is a hospital nurse who works Thanksgivings and Christmases all the time. Can someone do something about all those sick people who deprive her of her "right" not to work holidays?)

The best quote, though, is from the competitor's complaint letter to the state: "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." So, residents of Massachusetts have two options on Thanksgiving: one choice or no choices. Apparently, according to the owner of this competing grocery store, having no choices is better than having just one choice. I hereby nominate this guy to run the FDA.

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