SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 15, 2012

Locals weigh in on the blue-law blues

(Continued)

On the other hand, Anna Carpenter of Danvers doesn’t see the worry. She’s already working at CVS and is accustomed to being called in on the days when others are not.

“I actually volunteer to work on holidays,” she said. “We get time and a half.”

Carpenter admits to remembering an era decades ago when seemingly everything was closed on Sundays year-round. She didn’t much like it.

“I think you should be able to buy what you want every day of the week,” she said. “I think it’s archaic to tell people they can’t.”

The blue laws, of course, originated in Colonial times when the Puritan settlers were anxious for citizens to keep holidays holy days.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Bob Forbes of Ipswich said.

His first reaction was to endorse the notion of eliminating the blue laws. But when reminded that it might mean people have to work on holidays, he pulled back. “I don’t think people should be forced to work on those days.”

At the same time, he acknowledged that the law might not be able to protect those who opt out.

“I don’t know how you would do that,” Forbes said, shaking his head.

“It’s up to people if they want to shop on that day,” Melissa McCormack of Danvers said. She concedes that she wouldn’t be happy working on Thanksgiving. Fortunately, it doesn’t come up. “I don’t work in retail.” And she believes that’s an option everyone has, to find work in fields that might leave them free on holidays.

“We have flex time where I work,” she said. “I worked on Veterans Day. But I had Columbus Day off.”

Meanwhile, she pointed out, a lot of jobs have always required holiday scheduling, and she named nurses as an example.

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