General Question

girlofscience's avatar

Why are the necessary businesses of life only open when everyone is at work?

Asked by girlofscience (7449 points ) December 4th, 2008

Post offices, banks, doctors offices, etc. Some great banks have weekend and evening hours, but in general, all of these kind of services are only open when everyone is at work.

Why?

Why not make the primary hours of businesses that working people need to use evenings and weekends?

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18 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

Here are some effects that could arise from implementing what you propose:

- Nightlife businesses (bars, pubs, dance clubs, live music, comedy shows, etc) are decimated, as people are either working or patronizing the banks etc. And these can’t shift to being open during the day, cause THOSE people are now working, and in many places there is legislation for times when a business can serve alcohol, so many places would have to shut down.

- Rush hour doubles in frequency (so you have an 8am rush hour, and then a 5pm double rush hour, and then a late night rush hour). Sure, it will reduce in size, but doubling in frequency is much worse than having one big rush hour period, as now the roads are congested more often.

- Half the world would be night people and half would be morning people. Television ratings would go down since people watch at different times, Tivo use would skyrocket, and people usually fast forward through Tivo’d commercials if they can, so overall television ad revenue decreases substantially as well, most TV ad deals are priced based on viewership of the live (first broadcast) show, so lower viewership means lower asking prices means less ads being bought which is pretty much the only thing propping broadcast TV up nowadays.

- Since half of people are awake at night and half are awake during the day, car accidents overall would go up as the chances of a driver being tired while traffic volume is high increases.

- The stock market as it stands now would simply not work, it would break. This is a huge point.

As far as I can tell, the ONLY benefit gained by changing the business hours is flexibility of when you can buy a stamp or visit your doctor. Clearly the benefits do not outweigh the problems that would be caused by this.

There’s also a few key points you’ve missed: working people also work at businesses. What about a bank investor, would he work in the AM or PM? He has to know how the bank is doing daily, but he also has to be able to invest those funds when the market is open and thriving. Not to mention you’re only switching the open-hours problem to another sector of working people, now the restaurant owner can’t go to the bank cause it’s not open when he needs it to be, and no offense meant but a restaurant owner is more of a valuable banking customer than you or me or other single person accounts (unless you’re a millionaire).

Plus, I wouldn’t work in a place that I had to work over the weekend, just so that other people could patronize the business. Then I can’t enjoy the fun nightlife, well whatever amount of it is left. I know I’m not the only person, so these night businesses would have to pay more to entice people to work there, and that cost is passed right along to the consumer through price or fee increases.

No, while it’s uncomfortable the way it is now, it really IS the best solution. The closest thing we can get to making it better is either talking to companies and encouraging more open hours, or through using the Internet. Now I only physically go into a bank when I need to deposit a cheque and that can be done through an ATM that’s open all the time. Post office, that’s a bit trickier, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I sent a package so I can use a vacation day if I really needed to.

omph's avatar

Get a job where you work at night. Problem solved.

blondie411's avatar

my complaint too, but it has always been explained to me that doctors, bankers and post office people like their time off too. i guess makes sense, but very annoying to get it all done on a lunch break or squeeze it in before they close during the day.

bpeoples's avatar

This is part of why theater folk have Monday’s off. (well, that and the same reason night-life businesses are closed Mondays) When I was working in theater, I could actually get all of my errands done on Monday—it was kind of neat.

So there’s your solution: offer to your boss to give up Saturday or Sunday in exchange for not working on Monday.

The other thing is that “traditionally” in a family situation, the husband went off to work, and didn’t worry about the other stuff (except if he was sick, then he called in sick), the wife handled all of hte rest of the stuff while he was at work (and while everyone else was at work).

shrug

Jax's avatar

Other solution, the Google kind. Have a bank, barber, dentist, doctor in the building. Ever tried to get a haircut on the weekends? If your barber is any good you best plan weeks ahead, or walk around like an idiot for three more weeks.

girlofscience's avatar

@omph: Fantastic idea. Screw neuroscience and my damned normal hours.

I’d be much happier waiting tables, losing my social life, and forgetting about my career goals. At least I could get to the bank and the post office.

steelmarket's avatar

It is also a corollary of Murphy’s Law: What can mess with your life will mess with your life.

girlofscience's avatar

@dynamicduo: That sounds like a hell of a lot more consequences than I’d imagine. I need some time to digest what you’ve suggested before I know if I agree.

dynamicduo's avatar

By all means take as much time as you need, I don’t know if these threads ever close, but I’m always up for a discussion on it. And I imagine there’s stuff to disagree with, there’s a lot I haven’t even thought of and I’d probably find a point in my own ramblings to disagree with in a few month’s time. :)

omph's avatar

@girlofscience
Shit, I guess your time is more valuable than the actual doctors, postal workers, bankers, and dentists. They should cater to a grad students hours. It is totally unfair.

cwilbur's avatar

Because many people do not work 9–5. It’s a serious misperception among people who do work 9–5 that everyone else in the world does it.

And in every job I’ve had that was a professional 9–5 job, I have never had a boss object to me taking an extra half hour for lunch so that I could get to the post office or leaving half an hour early to get to the bank. Or, since there’s a post office about a quarter-mile from my front door that opens at 7, I just get up early.

judochop's avatar

I know. WTF? I want the world to revolve around my
Schedule too.

fireside's avatar

@ GoS – you can work on neuroscience at night. All the movies about Dr. Frankenstein seem to take place at night…

Trustinglife's avatar

I was at Trader Joe’s at 3:30 yesterday and just amazed at how packed it was! I mean packed! Long lines. Where do all these people work?

When I was working more normal hours, I assumed everyone else worked the same hours. It’s just not true, as cwilbur said.

fireside's avatar

That’s a great point.
I am always amazed at the amount of people that are out and about in the middle of the day.

maybe_KB's avatar

Tell me about it

bpeoples's avatar

@fireside (and @maybe_KB) the mad scientist union (IBMS) defines “normal working hours” as 8pm to 6am. Due to a really ridiculous quirk, they defined it ONLY in Greenwich Mean Time, so it really screws up the working hours over here in the states. Regardless, the Dr. Frankenstein stuff did happen during normal working hours. If you’re working from 4pm to 8pm or 6am to 10am, time is paid at 1.5x, which isn’t a huge deal. (10am-4pm is billed at 2x time, which really starts to eat into research budgets)

The problem, ultimately, is that working during an electrical storm tends to drive up the infrastructure costs—have you ever tried to design computer equipment to WORK while getting struck by lightning? This is actually why you don’t see any more Dr. Frankenstein monsters since the 1960’s—the technology has largely been lost.

I hear there are a couple of people working on the problem in Romania with vacuum tubes and such, but the recent drought has inhibited the lightning storms previously prevalent. You should read our blo

AshlynM's avatar

I’ve always wondered this too. Wouldn’t businesses make more of a profit if they operated after business hours? That’s when most people need to use their services, when people are off work

Like the Vegas Strip. I I’d think they’d get more business at night, when people actually go out.

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