Sunday, July 26, 2009

Being Blue in New Jersey

Once upon a time all states in the US had what are referred to as Sunday Blue Laws. Businesses were forbidden to be open on Sunday, because it was the "Sabbath." I remember when there was no shopping available on a Sunday, except for a few Jewish stores here in NY, and those stores got hassled plenty. Eventually NY bowed to the practical and got rid of its Blue Laws. Only some of New Jersey got rid of its blue laws, or part of them.

Yes, now in Bergen County you can buy food on Sunday, so ShopRite is open. But my daughter reported to me a strange incident that happened today at a ShopRite in Bergen County. She went to do her weekly shopping. On her list was getting a new mop, which was on sale at ShopRite. She put the mop into her wagon and then a friendly store clerk told her not to bother. They wouldn't check out the mop at the checkout counter. Apparently mops are not an item they are allowed to sell on Sunday, being still covered under the Blue Laws. She could buy her groceries. Had she wanted to she could have purchased beer. She was allowed to buy Febreze air freshener. But mops? Verboten.

You've got to love a County where drinking beer is apparently less of a "Sabbath breaker" than mopping is. It also makes me wonder this: do any of our legislators, on the city, state and federal level, ever really read the laws they are voting for? Do they read the fine print? At some point a group of people who are supposed to be intelligent gave us no mops on Sundays. Now, do you understand why governmental edicts seem so out of whack with reality?

And to segue from mops to medicine, the new Health plan that some in Congress are so desperate to pass and pass now--the bill runs over 1000 pages. What are the chances that everyone who has to vote on that bill has read every line of it, word by word? Want to take a bet that if the bill passes we are going to see an awful lot of "no mops sold on Sunday" provisions come to light?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"You've got to love a County where drinking beer is apparently less of a "Sabbath breaker" than mopping is."

Why not? That works in judaism, particularly if its wine or vodka instead of beer.

Rachel said...

I don't get the chochma here. The store is already open on Sunday so people are shopping in it. So why say that some items can be sold and some can't? So little sense in this provision that I could almost see saying--almost--Christians and others who hold Sunday as Sabbath can't buy mops, but everyone else can. Makes about as much sense.

You can dump on NYC for other things but at least we got the shopping thing right.

tesyaa said...

Bergen County blue laws are so weird. I mean, this county is more chock full of malls than anywhere I can think of. They must do so much business 6 days a week that it's worth it to be closed the 7th.

It's a pain for me though because I work full time and if I need Nordstrom (not often, but occasionally) it's a big hassle to make the time to get there. Otherwise, Willowbrook Mall in a regular county has everything Bergen County has.

naviw said...

I think it is only in Bergen County. It just drives me crazy. There is a store in Teaneck I like, but I ususally can only get up there on Sundays. Of course it is closed. I think the restaurants and Judaica shops are allowed to be open on Sundays.

frum single female said...

thats insane. i am surprised they are able to sell beer, though.

CJ Srullowitz said...

Interestingly, you can only get beer from a liquor store. Not being a native of Bergen Cty, lulei demistafina, I did not know this and went on a fruitless hunt Sat night for beer at grocery and convenience stores (as my custom is to make Havdallah on beer during the Nine Days).

Trudy said...

Keeping the Bergen County malls closed on Sunday wasn't a religious matter but a practical one. The traffic caused by those shopping in the malls is horrendous and at least on Sunday county residents get a break from the traffic. But I agree that if a store is already open then why can't it sell everything that is in the store. Why pick on mops?

Jack said...

My father told me stories of Blue Laws, but I haven't any personal experience with them. It sounds like it is a mix of interesting and irritating.

profk_offsping said...

Trust me--way more irritating than interesting. And I don't care if Paramus's stricter rules were instituted to get rid of Rt. 4 traffic. It's an argument I find specious (not least because the law is worded to prohibit "worldly employment").

If the traffic were the sole reason, then the government could easily switch the Blue Laws to Saturday instead of Sunday--not many Christians nowadays refrain from shopping on Sunday...at least not in Bergen County. Except they were originally put in to protect the Christian "sabbath" and it gets left on Sunday to accommodate a Christian majority. I can't understand how anyone couldn't find that unconstitutional. Plus, I really wanted that mop!