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Like many other states, New Jersey is a study in contrasts. It's the birthplace of the working man's hero, Bruce Springsteen, and the appallingly self-entitled cast of Jersey Shore. It's home to some of America's finest educational institutions and the glittery, mindless joys of Atlantic City. It's also a largely blue state with a largely Republican governor.
And like many other states, New Jersey prohibits auto sales on Sunday. According to AutoNews, at least one legislator had hoped to change that, but he's seen a huge pushback from dealers.
Over the summer, New Jersey assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo put forward a bill that would allow dealers to do business on Sundays. To hear the story from Jim Appleton, head of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, DeAngelo thought he was doing a good deed, eliminating a prohibition that seemed rooted in antiquated blue laws.
But though religious restrictions may have been the source of New Jersey's law, Appleton and others clearly like things the way they are now.
PROS & CONS
The pros of eliminating the restriction on Sunday sales are pretty obvious: doing so would give dealers another day to conduct business and potentially rake in more revenue. Since neighboring states like New York allow Sunday sales, DeAngelo's bill would, in theory, help dealers compete with nearby competitors.
The cons are a little more complicated. According to Appleton, dealers dislike the thought of doing business on Sundays because they would have to staff another day of operations. He says that salespeople enjoy having a regular day off, and getting them to work on Sunday would be difficult and perhaps cause them to seek employment elsewhere. (Dealers in other states disagree.)
Appleton also insists that customers like shopping on Sundays specifically because there are no salespeople around. Though they can't take test drives, shoppers enjoy getting up-close looks at cars without feeling pressured to buy.
And Appleton adds that in states that do allow Sunday sales, Sundays are typically losing days. The money spent on staffing outweighs sales revenue generated.
We can see both sides of this argument. For some of us with busy weekday schedules, adding Sunday sales would be hugely helpful. Then again, there's something to be said for kicking tires without being hovered over by commission-hungry salespeople.
The harsh pushback from dealers does seem a little strange, though. DeAngelo's bill wouldn't insist that they open, it would only make Sunday sales an option. Dealers could open their doors all day or for just a few hours, and those who wanted to remain closed could do so.
While that seems like a reasonable scenario on paper, we probably won't get to see if it plays out in practice: because of the objections from dealers, DeAngelo's bill will likely die in committee.
How about you? Do you enjoy car shopping on Sundays? Would you rather do so on your own, or with the assistance of a dealer? Share your two cents in the comments below.