The Sunday Shopping “Blues”
It's the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, and many people here in the Garden State have holiday shopping on their to-do lists. Of course, if you live in Bergen County and would prefer to stay there to make your purchases, you’re out of luck. Still.
Most Bergen County residents who consistently fight against changing the Sunday shopping status quo that exists there due to Blue Laws will probably tell you that they simply wish to maintain some semblance of peace and quiet in their area for at least one day a week.
Living less than five minutes from a major shopping mall myself, I suppose I can understand that, to a degree. At the same time, when my local mall is open and packed on a typical Sunday during the holidays, my neighborhood looks and sounds exactly the same as it does on any other day of the week.
I would hasten to ask those same folks who are in the “peace and quiet” camp about the rest of their weekend. Forcing businesses to remain closed on Sundays is probably creating problems on the day before, simply because people know that they won’t have any chance other than Saturday to visit the malls, resulting in even more ridiculous volumes of Saturday traffic on roads like Routes 4 and 17. I can only imagine how many first-time weekend visitors to the malls in Bergen vow to never return for that reason.
Would having two weekend shopping days instead of just one help to level out the weekend traffic? It's hard to say, since it hasn't really ever been tried – but it might just help, and I doubt that it would make things any worse than they already are.
Bergen County is one of the wealthiest areas in the entire country, let alone New Jersey. In light of the present state of the economy, we should be giving our residents and visitors every available opportunity to run their businesses, earn and spend money everywhere in our state, every day of the week. And that means every kind of operation – not just restaurants, gas stations, and convenience stores.
Yes, peace and quiet. In a perfect world, we would all have an abundance of it, all the time. However, boosting our economy, making efforts to stabilize traffic in a very densely-populated area, and meeting the needs of consumers are just three of the more emergent issues of the day that trump serenity in one’s town as a priority. Twenty out of New Jersey’s twenty-one counties would already seem to agree.