Sunday Shopping vs Spending Sundays on Church and Quality Time With Family
Sundays are what they are meant to be: spending quality time with family.
For so many Christians, that meant dolling up their kids and themselves in their Sunday best (or any modest wardrobe) and going to church. That's right - church. They've dedicated the day to the LORD. God gave them the 4th (if Catholic) commandment and requires them to follow it:
Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11, NABRE)
Simply put, they couldn't afford to have themselves (and their kids) miss whatever Sunday service they have. They'd feel that they get much closer to their families - and of course, God - if they've said their prayers and sung their hymns.
Sundays are for Church and/or Family
But Sundays nowadays are a different story, especially for teens and young adults. Sundays are days shy from days filled with French and sitting on the bench. They also mean other free days of weeks (obviously besides Saturdays) all day with their friends or dates from being cooped up in Algebra, if you know what I mean.
For those at an age when most think it's OK to rebel against their parents, Sundays meant hightailing it to the theme park, their friends' houses, or the local shopping mall. In the past, many states close the latter for Sundays. Nowadays, a huge majority of malls are open for business on those days when they are supposed to tag their families or parents along to what they call boring places with boring music.
So why is it so necessary to go to the mall instead of the LORD'S house? Despite the reduced hours of operation, what effects do the big-name "premium outlets" have on the LORD'S days?
Sundays Aren't Just for Church Anymore!
Church May Be Boring for Some Teens
Why Going to Chruch/Spending time With Family is Important
Most teens and young adults ditch even the Sunday services with exciting praise bands for just another mall hangout. But they are missing something that what they consider boring can benefit them throughout their lives.
Many Christians believe that Jesus was risen from the dead on a Sunday and that they should commemorate it by gathering the family and going to church. They believe it's the first of all days and the first feast they share.
Catholics view Sundays as weekly holy days of obligation, just as they are with Christmas, Easter (which obviously always fall on Sundays), and other days. The Catechism states that Christians are obliged to "participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation (including Sundays), unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor." Failure to oblige results in one committing a grave sin.
For those not so faithful and for some atheists, Sundays are rather celebrated as quality times with their families. They usually have picnics in the parks, play old-fashioned games like catch, or watch classic movies together.
Supporters of a day of rest and family leisure - whether Christian or not - agree that Sunday shopping robs them of such quality days.
Church is Boring? Skip it and Go Shopping!
Now that I explained why Christian parents drag their kids to church, let's explain that one urge to pry from family tradition and hang out with friends.
Well, some teenagers and young adults alike love to hang out and/or shop at the mall. Most of them find church really boring to begin with. They have to sing old hymns; listen to sermons or, if Catholic, homilies; and try to be quiet (which is mostly easy). In some families, they have to don their stuffy dresses (read: Sunday best), even when it's hot outside, when most everyone wears casual and modest clothes (jeans and T-shirts), or both.
Going to the mall or other shops on Sunday is a form of escapism from what some young people consider a family activity that is ho-hum, especially if the pastor or priest lacks a sense of humor.
Church a Bore?
Let's Not Forget Revenue and Other Religions
Once upon a time, blue laws on Sunday retail were en vogue. They dictate which stores should open and which ones should not on Sunday. Nowadays, they are all but repealed (save for Bergen County, New Jersey, and very few places). Owners and managers believe that it leaves room for desired extra revenue. Workers would benefit from the pay they get from having stores open on a Sunday.
And let's not forget the other religions that can benefit from the repeals, not just Muslims and atheists. For some observants (like Orthodox Jews), the true Sabbath falls on a Saturday, which means that they can't shop on that day. Thus, they have to rely on Sunday-Friday to do retail errands.
What Do You Buy on Sundays?
Family Sundays in a Nutshell
How Sunday Operating Hours Negatively Affects Workers and Business
Doing shopping on a day when a majority goes to church neither only degrades the purpose of the day (family and God time) nor decrease church attendance. It does workers and retailers more harm than good.
For managers, having stores open seven days per week instead of six makes them face a financial dilemma. They have to increase their pay rate to their employees, thus increasing prices. Businesses in malls must comply to operating hours or else they will liquidate their merchandise and eventually close down. The Christmas (or holiday season, for the politically correct) revenue most shops are coveting would be lost to the new operating hours on Sundays come after the holidays.
As for workers, the detrimental effects of Sunday business spans more than missed church and family time. Opening stores on days typically designated for God or family spells out longer working hours. One of the negative effects on their mental health is depression. British research suggested that having to work an extra day can make employees prone to it.
But, alas, some people who love going to the mall on Sunday doesn't care whether those working in them those days would be unhappy people.
No Church-Day Shopping = Less Traffic?
For instance, take one place that puts restrictions on what to sell on "church-and-family days" is Paramus, which is blue-law ground zero in Bergen County. Their laws neither just emphasize family time nor a day with the LORD. They also mean less traffic in their roads lined with huge shops.
Those laws date back to about the times when the Garden State Plaza was constructed in the mid-late 1950's. Malls are a threat to peace for residents because of the traffic it generates. (After all, people have just loved going to malls for years, but they since believed in a time for going to them!) If it weren't for them being enforced in the first place, many a family would had came inside to church to the strains of the second verse of, say, "We Gather Together."
Traffic is not just a pollution issue or a test to see whether or not the person is on time for work or not. Just try going to church on Sundays when you would face Route 4 or Route 17 (the latter could be worse some Sundays because of the length) traffic jams due to the stores and malls being open. Just try. You'd arrive when the congregation sings the last verse of "Holy, Holy, Holy" or even when they sing the last bits of the gospel acclamation.
Sundays with Closed Stores Means Less Traffic
Sadly, those living in areas where they long repealed Sunday laws on shopping or don't have them at all face that said dilemma. Getting to church is oftentimes more like getting to work on rush-hour. Major highways would face the crush of eager buyers.
So, kids taking too slow to get ready for church, oversleeping, and car troubles are not the only factors for church tardiness. Especially when both church and stores are open in a lot of places, blame the traffic as well.
Blue Law Benefits
Do We REALLY Need ALL that Shopping on Chruch Days?
While there are some people who head to the mall whether because they are of different religions, have something to do than go to church, or just for the fun of it, there are groups that oppose that idea. For all the buying stuff on Sunday cons mentioned above, they plead with government officials to put selective Sunday closing laws. They really want to get to church on time and/or spend more time with their families on those days.
But there are plenty of places when the malls are open on days when most Christians must attend church. They are free to save the shopping for other days of the week, even if it meant battling traffic jams and crowds.
Those reasons for and against opening stores on Sundays raises two questions. Is Sunday shopping all that good? Or should quality time with family - and if Christian, God - dominate that day of the week?