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Jump the gun

Gander was in the news again recently with its town council decision to write the premier and prime minister seeking support to have businesses (out of respect for Remembrance Day) refrain from Christmas promotions until after Nov. 11.

Mayor Claude Elliott said, "This is not about telling business how to run business...we're living in a free country where it's up to them what they want to do" (CBC - Website).

The Newfoundland up-in-the woods crowd would love that hands off attitude applied to them so they could hunt and fish as they please rather than be restricted by silly government laws that permit fishing and hunting only within a very specific season.

Businesses tend to operate much like Larry, Daryl and Daryl of the Newhart Show (1982-90), "We will do anything for a buck". Thus, no day is sacred from making a buck, unless the law says so. Christmas shopping may be going on in Massachusetts, Maine and Rode Island before Nov. 11, but all three states have banned big store shopping on Thanksgiving Day (last Thursday in November) out of respect for its family day emphasis.

In my days at St F X University (1964-68) a fall rite was Saturday afternoon football. When an opposing team was getting near a first down or near our goal line an often heard chant to our defense was, "Push'em back, push'em, Push'em".

New England States have shown you can make a law to push back businesses - make them close on a specific day or days. And now some big chains in other states are now voluntarily shutting down for Thanksgiving.

Restricting Christmas and other celebrations to a specified period would be tough. However, shaming companies in the media, and especially social media, can bring about change. Such was the case with the announcement by Air Miles on Dec. 1 that it was backing off its plan to implement expiry dates for present and future Air Miles beginning Dec 31.

Retailers are wont to say they give the customers what they want. Who, in this province, wants Valentine stuff on the shelves during the Christmas season? My guess - zero. Nevertheless, the anything for a buck attitude means Valentine things will be on some store shelves before Dec. 31. Heartless!

Maybe the Gander Town Council's letter on paying more respect for Remembrance Day will spark the retail industry to adjust its, jumping the gun, not just for Christmas, but for all events.

Other news has provincial Justice Minister Andrew Parsons speaking out on the need to toughen distractive driving laws. Why tougher laws on cell phone use, while driving, haven't already been implemented is unfathomable? Such cell phone use is equal to, or more dangerous than, impaired driving. Why isn't the punishment as severe as impaired driving?


I recently saw a young driver at Pinsent-Cromer who would not wait for a green light; he sharply turned right and drove through the parking lot of the former Cabot Bakery and quickly turned left (without looking) and continued on down Cromer Ave. As he passed by me, waiting at a red light, he was talking on his cell phone. Mr. Minister, make the law really, tough, now.

As for bypassing traffic lights, the Union-Goodyear-Lincoln set has some drivers behave as if were the Central Pharmacy-Killick roundabout.

Some drivers, coming up Union Street won't drive to the red light and wait for a left green arrow to Lincoln Rd. Instead, they will quickly turn left and cut through the Killick parking lot; and, then turn left again onto Lincoln Rd.

Other drivers coming up Union St will avoid the red light by taking the right slip lane to Goodyear Ave; then, quickly turn left and drive around Central Pharmacy. Lastly, they turn right to continue up Union St.

More regularly observed are the drivers who, while coming down Union St, will avoid a red light by quickly turning left into the Central Pharmacy lot. They make their way around the building and lastly turn left onto Goodyear Ave.

It's amazing how some drivers can't wait, won’t wait, a few minutes for a more secure flow of traffic through, probably, the busiest intersection in town. Instead, they opt to jump the gun with shortcut driving, and thus up the risk for a collision and all its consequences. Are they breaking any law? Don't know, but law or no law, it is pretty idiotic dangerous driving.

Lastly, our two youngest daughters can't wait to be home for Christmas. And for sure we all can't wait to head across the river to go up Chipper Road (across from the electricity sub-station) to cut down our Christmas tree on Dec. 18 or so.

Artificial trees mean that Christmas trees are now put up weeks on end before Christmas Day. Like a Christmas turkey overdone, it is not our preference. Sure hope on our tree hunt day, the snow won't be up to the lower cheeks or the bitter cold nipping the upper cheeks.

With that cheeky thought I will end with best of luck to those men who can't find the right gift for the missus. And to those who won't go shopping until the last minute, Christmas is weeks away b’y; barrels of time. Why jump the gun?


Andy Barker can be contacted at


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