Day 350 of the Calendar Year

Closing Time – “Could you please tell me what your closing time is?” “It is closing time, would everyone please move to the front of the store.” “Oh my God, it’s almost closing time and I have not met anyone to go home with.” “Well, its closing time soon and I will be able to quit work.” Who is not familiar with the idea of closing time? Before 24/7, we had 7/11 stores. We thought that they were really something because they opened at 7 AM and closed at 11 PM. When once most businesses closed on Sundays and Holidays, today even Christmas and New Years are not observed by many stores. It’s common to find businesses, gas stations and shops that stay open all day, all night, every day. Of course, we still have zones and restrictions concerning closing times for some establishments and times beyond which it is illegal to sell certain products. In some states, you can sell alcohol on Sunday and in others you may not. The closing times for bars vary from state to state as does their opening times. It is interesting that we have not gone 24/7 for everything.

Behind this trend towards more liberal opening and closing times is a combination of social, legal and technological forces. Socially we are becoming more diverse and we show less inclination to honor holidays associated with any one religion. Technologically, we have the means to schedule and staff more hours than ever before. Computers and the Internet have opened up many retail opportunities for the enterprising entrepreneur who does recognize time barriers. Legally, politicians have seen no compelling reasons to block people from shopping or working whenever they want to. In a consumer driven economy, more shopping and more spending creates a stronger economy and more profits. Today we have telecommuting as well as teleshopping. If I decide to work at home, why should my starting and closing time be dictated by traditional rules of work? I can start later and “close shop” at 3 AM in the morning or whenever I stop being productive.

Some day, the concept of closing time may be an anachronism. It will be a relic of past times when people were bound to regular time clocks and cars. In the future, there may never be any closing times. Would you rather a 9 to 5 world or a 24/7 world? Why? What benefits do you get from each? Could we combine the best of both? Are there some days or times when everything should be closed? Should we have a day of rest from capitalism and consumerism?

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