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Why Are Essential Businesses Cutting Back Hours?
Nero the Pict asks on 5/8/20 on the ride into Mordor
“It’s hard to get into some of the places, they are so busy and we are standing in line. Why wouldn’t they stay open their normal hours and do as much business as possible?”

Retail businesses that have maxed out their customer count and/or have topped out their volume will expand to earlier and later hours as a way to keep from losing convenience business to 7-11s and such and as a way to grab those shoppers who don’t get off work until 9 P.M. This usually does not pay off and is an iffy proposition at first and then starts spreading your business out as some of the dinner crowd shop a little later and the going to work crowd stop in. Spreading your business around makes it easier to schedule for and puts less stress on the employees and staffing managers.
With the Dread Minus some things have happened that have made spreading business hours out less desirable:
-1. Volume has doubled—boom, like that, you could give a shit about accommodating peripheral customers, like in the old days when stores closed at 7:00 P.M. because house wives shopped from home instead of working women shopping on the way home.
-2. All of those shitty service jobs that provide those later evening shoppers, those jobs have been lost and those fuckers are mostly at home.
-3. Staffing requirements have increased because stock levels are depleted and need restocked, you need a customer counter, drawing one person off each shift, a cleaner, drawing a person off each shift, and twice as many cashiers and some more customer service people on the floor to help speed up customer selections and keep the state mandated customer count down, a count that seems to be 10% of fire code occupancy. So, all of those extra people needed to handle the volume increase and simultaneous distancing requirements and cleaning regimens, are pulled from the slow hours at the beginning and end of business. I used to look at graphs my boss made of customer traffic and it was clear that staying open after 8:00 P.M. was all Indian country, the retail frontier, which brings us to number 4.
-4. Cops are basically just monitoring road traffic for their tyrannical masters and are no longer guarding businesses, at least in Maryland, which means you do not want to be the only store open late at night, with the robbers having but one choice and it being your toiling ass. Even with shoplifting, and especially with violent crime, business risk is highest at the edges of the business day herd. So, we are partially seeing retail herd behavior. In higher risk climes you want to do your business at the same times to spread your risk of crime.
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Don QuotaysJun 23, 2020

Reading between the lines, this situation is likely to continue for years.

For the retailer, its safer and profitable.
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