While blue laws in Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island do not allow most retailers to open on Thanksgiving day, stores in Vermont may open on the holiday if they choose.
"Tomorrow's going to be hectic," said Roger Grant of Hinesburg, Vermont, who said he wanted to dodge the Black Friday crowds by shopping Thanksgiving.
Grant said he needed a snow blower, so got one at the Kmart in South Burlington, Vermont while family cooked Thanksgiving dinner back at home. "Is it convenient today being open on a Thanksgiving for me? It is today," Grant said.
Shopper Brian McDavid, from the Montreal area, was also at the Kmart Thursday. Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October, so the fourth Thursday in November is just Thursday to McDavid. "For me, it's a win-win," he said of shopping Thanksgiving. "You haven't got taxes on clothes down here, and you're paying a lot less."
Michael Minogue, from the Laurentians of Quebec, was first in line at the Williston Best Buy to purchase a big flat-screen TV when the store opened at 5 pm on Thanksgiving. "I'm staying quite warm," Minogue told New England Cable News from his folding chair at the front of the line. "There are great savings. This is like a family tradition."
Matt Porter of Burlington, Vermont was behind Minogue in line, also eager to purchase a TV. Porter said he expected to save $200 or more and didn't mind spending Thanksgiving in line. "I did 'Friendsgiving' with my friends yesterday," Porter noted. "We all had an awesome dinner last night around 8, it was great. My mom is working the holiday for double pay, and there's not much of a family event going on, so I'm not really missing anything."
Of course, many retailers opted to stay closed on Thanksgiving, including the Vermont-grown children's store Buttered Noodles, which is near many of the national big box retailers in Williston. A common motivation of stores staying closed was to give employees the day off before the very busy holiday season starts.
"I think it's more important to be home with your family," said Gabriella, a college student necn agreed to not identify by last name.
Gabriella asked necn to not name the well-known national retailer where she works. She said she wanted to tell the community she wasn't happy being at the store on Thanksgiving. Gabriella said she came into work because she can't afford to lose her job, and would feel bad to abandon her coworkers who also had to work the holiday.
"It makes it stressful," Gabriella said of the impact working has on Thanksgiving. "It should be fun and enjoyable. I don't think it's a good idea. The Black Friday deals will continue; there's also opportunities to shop online."
For shoppers necn met Thursday, their trips to the stores seemed as much about socializing as they did about buying.