Social Question

bookish1's avatar

How do you feel about stores that are open 24 hours a day?

Asked by bookish1 (13069 points ) February 1st, 2013

Do these exist where you live? Are they common? How often do you use them?

There’s a grocery store in my town that’s open 24 hours. I think it’s kind of strange. I’ve only been there past ‘typical’ grocery store hours once, when I was helping a friend whose cupboard was bare and needed a ride. But I suppose that such stores are welcomed by people who have social anxiety or PTSD.

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42 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I like the idea that they are always open, although I don’t use them much if at all. I do sometimes use 24 hr. pharmacies.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My first job when I was in high school was on the 3:00PM to 12:00AM shift, so I really liked the 24 hour idea. A lot of people work night shifts. Steven Wright had a joke about 24 hours. A guy walks up to the store and a clerk is locking and closing the door. The guy says “Your sign says open 24 hours”. The clerk looks at him and says “Not all in a row”.

Seek's avatar

They’re awesome for those of us with insomnia, or who work third-shift.

Sometimes I just can’t sleep, so I’ll nip down to the 24-hour grocery store and wander about until I eventually end up in the bakery section. Mmm… late-night cupcakes.

tom_g's avatar

I am 3 minutes from two different 24-hr CVS pharmacies. You have no idea how amazing this is until you have kids.

Pachy's avatar

There’s a convenience store near my house that is always open, but I’ve gone there after midnight only once—when I awoke in desperate need of “fizzy water.” More importantly, I have a pharmacy nearby that’s open 24/7, and though I’ve never needed to avail myself of it in the dead of night, I’m awfully glad it’s there in case of a situation requiring more than something fizzy, especially since I live alone.

Now that I think about it, wonder if I could get an Rx filled in the middle of the night. Better check on that.

ucme's avatar

I wish the Pet Shop was open all day…all day :¬)

tups's avatar

I live in a city and there are some 24/7 stores, but they are more shops than actual grocery stores. I have used them when I’ve been out partying at night when I wanted to buy booze or food or gum or something else.

I think they’re alright, I don’t really think that much about them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

We have a few stores, mostly WalMarts open 24 hours, but we also have a few large medical facilities , the Federal Prison and plants that have shift workers, so I hear it’s nice for them to be able to go when they can.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Anxious night owl here, I love them. I am partial to any business that is open 24 hours, they are my favorite by a long shot.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Most of the Wal-Mart stores are open 24 hours a day. I never thought there was anything particularly strange about it. It’s pretty common.

wildpotato's avatar

I’ve always been a big fan. I was really into uppers for several years, and loved to hang out in all-night stores doing drugs with the clerks. Kinko’s and truck stops were the best. People who work the graveyards are interesting folks.

24-hour stores are not nearly as common here around NYC as they were back in Colorado. It’s odd.

CWOTUS's avatar

I was more blown away by the early closings and set aside “market days” of various towns in the Netherlands.

I recall when the first explicitly 24-hour (all in a row) chain of stores opened in Massachusetts. It was quite a novelty back then, and it did catch on quickly in the larger cities. But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a “Store 24”. Does the chain still exist?

Nowadays I’m not at all surprised to find 24-hour stores – and thankful as hell when I need them, usually when I’m on the road somewhere and driving through the night. (They used to be awful convenient for me when I worked second or third shift, too. I used to hate to have to go to sleep around dawn and then remember to get up in the early afternoon to do some necessary shopping, because the stores wouldn’t open soon enough to coincide with my end of shift, and would be closing too early for me to sleep for the whole day.)

zenvelo's avatar

Remember when 7–11 was open at 7 and closed at 11 each night? At 10:45 we’d hop in the car to get another six-pack before they closed.

Now 7–11 and Safeway are open 24 hours. The 7–11 is handy for coffee, and I liked it when I smoked cigarettes.

I view Safeway as just being greedier while the store is being re-stocked. Since I am up early for work, about once a year I need milk or something for the kids to have a decent breakfast. Safeway is strange because you have to find someone to ring you up. And both the staff and the customers are like something out of a horror film.

augustlan's avatar

Grateful. As a confirmed night owl, I’m happy there are places I can get what I need in the middle of the night. Around here, we have a couple of 24 hour pharmacies, gas stations with attached convenience stores, a few 7–11s and a Super Walmart. Pretty much anything I need can be had, any time. I don’t think I’d like it if every place was open 24 hours a day, but it’s good for me that some places are.

mazingerz88's avatar

I feel human civilization is well and alive with the existence of 24 hour stores.

woodcutter's avatar

I only know about wallyworld here but the times we went after say 9 or 10 pm the place was a litter with pallets of stock which made shopping a pain. Closer to, we made restocking a pain. We went one time just for the experience. Curiosity satisfied.

wundayatta's avatar

Has anyone noticed that 7/11s and many other convenience stores have a really weird smell? I think it has something to do with how they clean the places. It nauseates me.

So I’m not a fan of those stores. All night drug stores are cool, although I have only had to use them once, so far, when a kid was in bad shape.

On highways, the rest stops all have 24 hour gas and food, which makes sense.

But I don’t stay up late any more. I don’t need to make midnight munchie runs. I don’t run out of beer (nor do I drink it). I don’t need these places, anymore, like I did when I was 20. Of course, when I was 20, I lived in the City, and it never closed down. After five years, I left, and by that time, I no longer needed the partying lifestyle.

Now my idea of a party is a barbecue by the pool, and everyone is gone by 6.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Most of my local markets are open 24/7. Not that I usually go shopping during the middle of the night, but I have done so many times over the years. I guess it is a bit strange to be in a quiet, nearly-deserted store, with no crowds or long checkout lines. Strange in a free and wonderful way!

flutherother's avatar

I am 200 yards from a 24 hour supermarket. It is reassuring to know I can get anything I want at anytime though I have never been in it between 11:00pm and 8:00am.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@zenvelo. When 7–11 stayed open from 7:00 am until 11:00 pm, that was an amazing thing. Back then, conventional markets opened at maybe 9:00 am and closed in the early evening, with no Sunday hours. Hence the term “convenience store,” for a place that had longer hours. Once upon a time, 7–11 sold actual groceries, not just beer, snacks, lottery tickets, and junky fast-food.

glacial's avatar

I think that if they exist, there must be a demand for them to be open at all hours.

If I’m asleep, I’m unaware of their existence. If I notice them, it’s probably because I’m in a position to need their services. So I can’t possibly complain. ;)

Bellatrix's avatar

My experience is different to the US jellies. We don’t have the population base there is in the US.

Stores here are not open 24 hours a day. They have trialled this and it happens around Christmas but if I recall rightly, the number of people who took advantage of the additional opening hours was minimal. I can see the benefit to shift workers, insomniacs and the like but the majority of people didn’t go shopping through the night.

There is a big debate here about whether longer trading hours are necessary or not. Does it create more jobs or just put more pressure on those employed in the retail area. Are the costs of keeping stores open justified by increased sales?

Our (Queensland) stores are open every day from say (rough times) 8.30/9.00am – 5.00pm with supermarkets opening until 9pm weekdays and 5 or 6 on weekends. I think that’s enough. Retail workers need time off too so unless staying open really boosts profits and creates jobs, then I would not want longer hours.

Blondesjon's avatar

I don’t really think about them more than once or twice a week, fifteen minutes at a time.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

They are convenient when they are needed. I don’t need to use them often, though.

mattbrowne's avatar

Convenient, but I also think about the people who are working there serving 2–3 customers between 2 and 4am.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@mattbrowne Those hours are used to unload trucks, restock shelves, and do cleaning and maintenace (wet floors are hazardous in a busy place). By keeping the doors unlocked and the store open for business, the employees can serve a few customers, as well.

Adagio's avatar

Like @mattbrowne I always think about the poor buggers who have to work in them when they are open, can’t say I’m a fan, at least let’s have one day a week when everything closes down, the need to shop and shop and shop and shop seems to be a sign of the times, and a sad one at that.

mattbrowne's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul – Can’t the unloading, restocking etc be done earlier or later? Night shifts are a health hazard in the long-term shortening people’s lives. 20 years of doing frequent night shifts is like second-hand smoking. For some jobs it can’t be avoided like police, firefighters, doctors and nurses. But why can’t the grocery business avoid the most unhealthy times of the night?

jonsblond's avatar

Some people don’t mind working the night shift. I worked 3rd shift as a hotel front desk clerk and it worked well with my schedule at the time. I liked to sleep in during the day and I was more awake in the late hours. I was much younger then and I’m sure I couldn’t handle it now that I’m in my 40s, but I really didn’t mind it at the time.

Stores being open late in the evening help those who work late shifts or those who need something in an emergency. I remember a few times when my husband had to make a late night run when our children were small. A bad case of diarrhea out of nowhere can quickly use up the last of the diapers. Or the last dose of liquid tylenol can be dropped or knocked over by little hands.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s no problem doing this for a couple of years in your 20s. A bit like when you stop smoking at age 25 for good. The long-term risk is much lower. But there are plenty of older employees who have no choice but to work night shifts for the grocery industry and they need to be better protected and we have to ask the question whether this is really necessary.

augustlan's avatar

I work night-shift willingly, because I’m just naturally nocturnal. It would be good if employers scheduled folks according to their needs, at least for the most part, rather than forcing specific shifts on people who don’t want to work during those hours.

Adagio's avatar

People obviously managed without 24-hour day shopping in the past, have our lives changed that much? Given, we might have more material “things” and lead more complex lifestyles but surely our basic human needs have not changed to the point where there absolutely must be a shop open 24 hours a day to meet our needs, come on people, humans are resourceful.

CWOTUS's avatar

Once upon a time we didn’t need to have 24-hour-a-day policing, firefighting, hospital emergency rooms and regular care, telephone operators, pilots and flight crews, overnight delivery, etc.

Now that we do have those things (because we think we need them), then they need a way to live as normal a life as possible, too.

jonsblond's avatar

Many people didn’t work second shift like they do now. These people want to go shopping when they get off work just like everyone else who works a 9 to 5. Kind of hard to do when you get off work at 11pm or midnight and every store is closed.

Adagio's avatar

@jonsblond Do they really want to go shopping?

jonsblond's avatar

haha. Who really wants to go shopping? I hate it.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Adagio Well, I can’t say that I ever really want to go shopping, but groceries are good to have on hand. I’ve yet to master the whole photosynthesis thing.

Bellatrix's avatar

We have online shopping here now. I can buy whatever I need from two major supermarkets and an totally online grocery store. The costs are comparable with shopping in a supermarket and it’s convenient. I don’t usually shop this way but have when I’ve been short of time. Do you not have online supermarkets in the US and UK for those people whose hours make shopping difficult?

Adagio's avatar

@Bellatrix I’ve just discovered online grocery shopping as well, I won’t do it each time but for someone who can no longer visit the supermarket and choose things off-the-shelf, I found it quite thrilling to see something and think “I just feel like some of that”.

Bellatrix's avatar

It’s very handy hey @Adagio? Here I can pick a time for the food to be delivered too. The main downside I have found is use by dates can be on the short side. You can look at this when you pick goods in the supermarket but get what you are given when you shop online. You can give the supermarket specific instructions so I suppose you could say you don’t want goods with a long shelf life supplied if they have a close use-by date.

Adagio's avatar

@Bellatrix Re: best before date, I give specific instructions to the person choosing the goods for me, you can pick delivery times here as well, not exact times, but within a time frame, like between 9 a.m.- 1 p.m., I’m always home so as long as the delivery person puts chilled items in the fridge I can just get the next person who arrives to put things away.

OpryLeigh's avatar

There aren’t many in my area, just a few here and there but I find the idea of them quite comforting.

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