Blue Law Apple Stores To Open on Sundays

February 1, 2011

Apple is always looking for new ways to provide service to the nearly 2,600 visitors that an average store hosts each day, and now they may have found one small solution—Sundays. According to sources, the two stores in Bergen County (NJ) that now close in compliance with the county’s restrictions on Sunday commerce will open for non-sales activities, including Genius Bar visits and training sessions. The Garden State Plaza store in Paramus and the Tice’s Corner store in Woodcliff Lake are the only stores in the U.S. that are not open on Sundays. They will likely adopt hours similar to other U.S. stores, opening at 11 a.m. or noon and closing by 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. The two Apple stores will not sell products on Sundays, but will handle services of all kinds. Bergen County and the city of Paramus are among the last jurisdictions in the country with so-called “Blue Laws,” passed decades ago to create a quiet day for religious observances. The state of New Jersey repealed its Blue Law in 1959, but allowed local jurisdictions to retain their own restrictions on Sunday commerce. Bergen County kept restrictions on selling clothing, furniture, appliances, home and office furnishings, and building and lumber supplies. The town of Paramus retained even tighter regulations, prohibiting all sales except newspapers and magazines, bread and milk, gasoline and tobacco products, drugs and meals, fresh fruit, vegetables and plants. County residents say the Blue Laws preserve their Sunday quality of life, and have voted down several ballot measures to repeal the laws, most recently in 1993. Last year Gov. Chris Christie failed to gain legislative support to repeal the state law as a way to increase sales tax revenues and help reduce the state’s budget deficit.

This screengrab of the Garden State Mall (NJ) store Web page shows that it's normally closed on Sundays in compliance with the county's' Blue Law.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Howie Isaacks February 1, 2011 at 1421

I thought this idiocy ended in the 80s. I believe that the 1st Amendment prohibition against Congress making laws that respect an establishment of religion extends to the states. Laws like this are unconstitutional.

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John F February 2, 2011 at 0947

Yup. Indeed they are, as they clearly only benefit religions that consider Sunday some sort of special day. However, to challenge it would require someone in one of the affected counties to file suit — and have particularly deep pockets. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that it might have to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to get properly adjudicated, as the counties in question would probably fight it tooth and nail.

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Keith February 2, 2011 at 1428

Nothing to do with religion anymore. Paramus has three major malls as well as a dozen more mini malls. Sunday is the one day of the week that it doesn’t take and hour to get from one side of town to the other.

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Brad February 20, 2011 at 2241

I’d be happy to apply the duck test, but the Supreme Court disagreed in McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420 (1961).

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Dan February 2, 2011 at 0552

Hey! That’s my local store. Haha. Nice to see they finally found a workaround. My dad loves those laws because he can easily drive on Sunday’s. He hates shopping. :( Although they do get annoying. Like if you need new clothes or school supplies, and you are busy on Saturday, you have to go all the way to the next county. I wonder how this is going to work though. I can picture conversations right now:
Customer: Hi, I’d like to buy this accessory.
Employee: Sorry sir, we can’t sell you that.
Customer: Why not? It is sitting right here on the shelf and I have my wallet out!
Employee: Sorry, but only services are allowed today due to the Blue Laws. You’ll have to come in tomorrow.
Customer: That’s ridiculous! (storms out angry)
Just think about it, and how funny is that conversation? A store telling you you cannot buy something because it is Sunday. This will cause lots of confusion.

One other thing is that I wonder how the GSP will handle this. On Sundays, they allow access inside a small portion of the mall where the AMC theater is. Other than that, only restaurants with an outside entrance are open. The Apple store is by JC Penny, sort of at an edge of the mall, so maybe they’ll open up another section?

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ZoetMB February 9, 2011 at 1047

That confusion about not buying things on Sunday from an open store has applied to alcohol for years.

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scotts13 February 2, 2011 at 1012

Stealth political pressure. After a few Sundays of “No iPod for you!” the customers – who pay taxes and vote – will be clamoring for a repeal of the Blue Laws. Apple and their customers will have their Sunday sales, without the company saying a word.

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ZoetMB February 9, 2011 at 1053

The “customers” will be “out-clamored” by the residents who want one day of the week when it isn’t bumper-to-bumper traffic all day and most of the night long. So I don’t think Apple or any retailer will win this one in that town. It’s not a big drive to the next town. There are shopping malls everywhere.

On the one hand, opening on Sunday generates jobs. It’s questionable whether it generates additional sales or whether it just distributes them more evenly during the week. If you can’t get a pair of pants or an iPod on a Sunday, will you never buy them?

When I was a kid, most retailers were closed on Sundays, except for bakeries and the corner candy store. I’m not saying we should have a law against opening on Sundays, but it was a lot nicer.

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carshoppingpro February 2, 2011 at 1749

Good Luck with that. Maybe at Tices. I say no way at the GSP. Not too long ago, the Paramus PD threatened to jail IT employees of Toys R Us if they didn’t close down the Tech Center. They moved to Wayne. Paramus has one of the highest densities of retail square footage in the US. It ain’t the dreaded ‘blue laws’ anymore, it is the entire town of Paramus (and the PD) who will shut down any move to open.

@Dan is correct. The current layout may prevent access to the Apple Store at GSP.

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usedtoliveinParamus February 2, 2011 at 1819

I agree with carshoppingpro. It’s not just about blue law or religion or politics anymore. The town of Paramus is small (probably about 10 sq mi) and like the above posters said has 3 major malls. On typical Saturdays, the roads are so saturated, especially the Rt4/Rt17 area that it’s not even worth it getting out of the house and driving anymore. Not to mention during the holiday seasons. That’s why Paramus, its PD and its residents are hanging on to the Blue Law.

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scotts13 February 3, 2011 at 0657

And whose fault is the weekend traffic congestion? No one said Paramus had to issue permits for the vastly disproportionate commercial development; they wanted the tax revenue. Same thing happened to my little town in PA. Less than 9,000 residents, but six major strip shopping centers, and another on the way. Did they spend the tax money on infrastructure to support the development? Not much. And they act SO surprised you can’t move around weekends or holidays.

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D February 4, 2011 at 0454

Perhaps your Saturdays are super congested in Paramus because there’s a mad dash to do ALL shopping on Saturday. If that traffic was spread out over two days It would probably be like a pressure valve. Silly law …

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Al February 7, 2011 at 0950

The traffic isn’t from Paramus residents, but from New Yorkers who cross the border to NJ where there’s no sales tax on clothes. Bergen County isn’t giving up its Blue Laws anytime soon, and agreed with Dan and carshoppingpro, the store is pretty far from an exterior exit.

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Matt February 20, 2011 at 1736

Thank God for the blue laws in Bergen County, NJ!

It’s so nice to be off from work on Sunday, and not worrying about working that day.
No damn traffic, stress, pollution and stupid stuff on Sundays, like it is the rest of the week.
It’s also nice being able to go to church, and spend time with the family.

I wish that even restaurants, grocery stores and movie theathers were closed, but it’s fine like now. This blue law should be all over the nation, like it is in most European countries (such as in Germany).

Jews and Muslims against this law? Well move back to where you came from, or to another county. 85% of America are Christians, with only 2% Jews and 1% muslims.

Jesus is with us! Amen

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Brad February 20, 2011 at 2228

While 85% (actually 78.5% according to the World Factbook) of Americans may be Christians in that they believe that Jesus is the Christ, most of them enthusiastically shop on Sundays, unless you think the remaining 20% of the population are the ones who are ten-deep at the Costco checkouts. Also, it doesn’t sound like you’ve actually been to Germany — only retail establishments are required to be closed; train stations are exempted (and they’re malls that happen to have space for trains to park); and the Germans happily bend every exemption to the trading ban to the breaking point, if not beyond.

If you’re going to have blue laws, do them right. No restaurants (except for hotels serving only their registered guests), no stores, no gas stations, no entertainment. Make online stores turn off their shopping carts. The only people allowed to drive should be the people manning fire, police, and ambulance services. Oh, and you’ll also need lots of mutaween to fine, jail, and/or beat senseless anyone attempting to violate these rules.

Alternatively, the people who oppose working on their Sabbath could, y’know, just not work on their Sabbath and leave the rest of us alone.

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Bergen County Jew February 26, 2011 at 0634

Holy crap! What are you doing living in Bergen County you anti-semitic fool. You do realize that a a majority of the Bergen County population IS Jewish and Muslim. I’d love to see you walking around Teaneck throwing out a line like “go back to where you came from.” Also you moron you quickly forget that your religion would not even exist if it wasn’t for Judaism. You may love going to church Jesus lover, but you will definitely be burning in hell one day.

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Matt April 30, 2011 at 2159

I live in Bergen County I love the blue laws, as most of the county residents do as well since the majority of us vote for keeping it. It´s such a nice feeling knowing that everything is closed except food places. There´s no traffic at all, nice & quite ;)

To Bergen County Jew:

I’m sure you got mad what previous person was saying. But I also want to let you know that you should respect and accept that you do live in a Christian dominated nation. The U.S. has the world’s largest Christian population. The U.S. has 2% Jewish, (New Jersey 5%) and Bergen County has about 83,000 Jews out of 905,000 residents, which is definetely not enough voters to get rid of the blue laws. However, there are many Jews who like the blue laws, same thing with some Christians that do not like the blue laws.

I am however very mad saying “Church Jesus lover” on purpose. You should be happy that Americans accept Jewish people here, because nowhere else are you guys accepted.
The Jews killed our Lord, Jesus Christ.. so don’t say anything!

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