These days, it can be a fraught decision


I am a crazy Black Friday shopper. For many years, my sister and I have either crawled out of bed before the Thanksgiving turkey has settled in our full bellies or, some years, have simply stayed awake, partially overdosing on coffee to brave the cold Minnesota night. We draw out our plan of attack, pouring over the numerous Black Friday ads in the Star Tribune. We locate our starting point and, while dressed appropriately for any kind of weather, position ourselves in line, waiting anxiously for the store doors to swing open.

For us, it is not just the bargains we covet and love that takes us outside in the middle of the night, but the tradition and camaraderie with fellow shoppers. Yet for the first time in more than a decade, my sister and I have chosen not to fulfill our Black Friday tradition. By opening at midnight and in some cases earlier, retailers, you have ruined a timeless and enjoyable tradition. I refuse to leave my family on Thanksgiving while they are still awake, and the employees of your stores should not have to, either. I realize that there are shoppers who want you to be open, but just as when my son asks to juggle some knives, sometimes you just have to say no.

Hope to see you next year.


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I don't get it. What's wrong with retailers opening their doors in the evening on Thanksgiving Day? Plenty of people work on Thanksgiving. How about those in law enforcement, in restaurants, or at gas stations and convenience stores, power companies, hotels, hospitals, movie theaters, fitness clubs, etc.? Come on, really -- think about it: Nothing says "heartfelt holiday" better than circling the parking lot until you're dizzy and almost getting into a fist fight over the last spot, waiting outside in the cold to get into a crammed store with hoards of shoppers pushing and shoving for the one or two hot deals, and standing in the checkout lane for hours. Here's a wish for a happy, heartfelt Thanksgiving holiday to all, whether you choose to spend it at home or "spend it" at the shops.


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Here's another vote for a 'family section'


The Lord knows I like beer, and the Lord knows I like the Vikings, so I have to agree with the Nov. 18 letter "Vikings need a safe family section."

I used to go to a game or two each year, until about three or four years ago, because it's getting insane in the stands now.

The last time I went, a guy in front of me was passed out the whole game, and it was a noon game on Sunday!

Who spends $80 to nap in a little, hard, blue plastic seat? Motel Six is four miles down Interstate 394, buddy.

So I advocate the Wilfs' setting up some sort of "family sections," where I can drink my one warm $8 beer, and fight off the cotton candy and the crumb crunchers.


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Those who don't like complexity may leave


I'm a white, middle-class Christian, 65, an Army veteran, and a gun-owning hunter whose dad was a Republican, so polls say I voted for Mitt Romney. Polls are wrong. This isn't my dad's GOP. Many have turned their backs on middle-class workers who enabled their wealth. Many became narrow and selfish; have waved a patriotic flag, yet avoided paying a fair share; have sheltered wealth overseas, and have sold out America for pieces of silver.

The election smoke has cleared. Maybe now Ted Nugent, Hank Williams Jr., birthers, racists, the NRA (shill of gun manufacturers), conspiracy nuts, corporate-welfare recipients and their sycophants will make good on threats to leave the United States or secede from the union. I wish them well in their efforts to create nirvana. Surely they have all the simple answers to the world's complex problems.

We'll still have problems, and God bless the adults in the political room who work to solve them, but we're better off without these fomenters of hate -- they create or amplify most of our problems. They rant about the changing color of America. But we are all, excepting our Native American brothers, immigrants here, intruders here, and here for the same reasons. Despite its flaws, the United States still offers us all, as it did our ancestors, the world's best chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


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Let's knock down barriers with Cuba


It was great to read of the bipartisan work in the U.S. House to remove trade barriers with Russia, in a bill cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota (Business, Nov. 17). Trade is a basic part of a civilized conversation in the world.

The next step should be to end U.S. sanctions and restore free trade with our close neighbor, Cuba. There is demonstrated bipartisan support for this in the Minnesota Legislature, including from Republicans in agricultural districts.

Meanwhile, the vote condemning the U.S. position on sanctions in the U.N. General Assembly last week passed almost unanimously, with only two other votes for the U.S. position to retain sanctions. This should be a national disgrace.

How about it, Congressman Paulsen?