|image from Tommy Ironic|
A fast food restaurant sign proudly exclaims, "We are open on Christmas!"
A hair salon observes normal hours on Christmas Eve.
A toy store stays open for 24 straight hours until 10 pm on Christmas Eve.
Yesterday I made a rare trip to the salon where, while chatting with my stylist, I found out the salon is open during regular hours on Christmas Eve and she had to work the whole day. She also only had one appointment for the entire day, but wouldn't be allowed to leave early regardless. Now my stylist wasn't complaining, I was asking the questions and she merely responded. But I think this is ridiculous.
When I was little, which wasn't so long ago, most businesses were closed on the major holidays of Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Today, more and more businesses are staying open on holidays for the "convenience" of their customers. Is this really progress? Has society really gotten to the point where we can't even take one entire day off? A day off from shopping, from eating out, from going to the movies, from getting our hair done. A day off from consuming.
When will we say enough is enough?Can't we close all non-essential businesses (sorry doctors, police and firefighters) for one single day and let everyone, not just those in certain lucky positions, enjoy the holiday with their families? Or just have an extra day to spend as they want? And if this issue doesn't bother you, would you feel differently if you were someone who got stuck working every holiday?
I guarantee you that the world would be just fine if we all took a day off. The procrastinators would finish shopping on December 23. Those who refuse to cook would learn to heat up leftovers or make a sandwich. We would all survive and maybe, just maybe, we'd be a little happier, and a little more rested if we took a day or two off to relax.
When I lived in Norway, everyone knew the shops would close from noon on Saturday until Monday morning, so they planned accordingly. Few stores were open until late at night on weeknights. At the time I resented the lack of entertainment options at all hours, (what can I say, I was a teenager) but now I think it would make a refreshing change. Maybe our lives wouldn't revolve so much on rushing, doing, and consuming during those off hours. Maybe we would slow down and focus on the more important things in life.
Is such a change even possible?
Yes, but I doubt it will ever happen. In order to cause such a change we would need to work together to force businesses to close by not patronizing them during the holidays. Petitions aren't going to work in this case. Businesses respond to profits, or lack thereof. If customers stop patronizing them on holidays, and it become more expensive for them to stay open then to close, then and only then would they act differently. But sadly I don't have a lot of faith in this ever happening, because it seems like if a store is open someone will shop there.
Would you stop patronizing non-essential businesses on the holidays in order to give everyone time off?