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The Boston Globe reported that Super 88, a local Asian supermarket chain that has begun to generate nationwide attention because of its ability to serve not just ethnic customers but virtually anyone looking for an ethnic food experience, got closed down on Christmas morning by Boston police.

The charge: violation of the state’s 400-year-old Blue Laws, which prohibit doing business on certain holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas among them.

The Globe noted that Super 88 was doing a “brisk business” when the police forced management to lock the doors.
KC's View:
Forget about whether 400-year-old blue laws have any relevance in 21st Century America.

We were intrigued by the defense raised by the folks at Super 88, because it has echoes of the cultural/religious discussion we were all having in this space in the weeks leading up to Christmas and Hanukkah. Super 88 said that while blue laws were meant to protect workers from being exploited by being forced to work on holidays, in fact all of the workers on Christmas happened to be Chinese-Americans who were not Christians and did not celebrate or observe the holiday. In fact, Super 88 says, it closes every year for Chinese New Year – because that is a holiday that has meaning for its employees and many of its customers.

It is an interesting defense. Should government be legislating the closure of businesses on holidays that have no relevance for those businesses? We think not, and not just because we generally think that blue laws are antiquated and irrelevant.

Not everyone will agree, but we think that this is the reality of living in a multicultural landscape. Hard to get used to, we know. But get used to it we must.