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Open on July 4th?

Is it just me, or are more stores declaring that they're going to be open this Independence Day (U.S.) than ever before?

I seem to recall that almost all retail establishments have tended to be closed for the Fourth. In fact, Nomi and I made a special call to our local supermarket, Stop & Shop, to ask if they would be open on Friday so we could plan accordingly, and it turns out they will be.

And it's not just them. Our local Trader Joe's has a big sign up saying they will be open. The New England Comics chain, where I purchase my weekly comics, is going to be open and is having a sale on the Fourth. And I just passed the Borders in Copley Square, and they too have a sign saying they will be open on the Fourth.

It costs money to keep a store open on the Fourth. Even if your employees are salaried, to make them work on the Fourth usually involves paying some kind of overtime, doesn't it? So the only reason I can see for these stores to stay open on the Fourth is if sales are down so much this summer that they're desperately hoping to recoup their losses on a day when most Americans are free to go shopping.

I wonder if this is just another harbinger of the economy.


Well, dammit, Michael, be patriotic! Go spend money!!
Well, we do need to buy groceries, and we may do so on Friday. Does that count?
Partly it is the economy, but even seven years ago, when I was (briefly) working for B&N, the rationale was that people who are off work tend to go out to the movies, forget things they need for a barbecue, or just sit and read and be around people. Businesses do make enough to cover the overtime, and more than that, they earn customer good will by being open and available whenever the customer wants something.

That being said, it's hard to get into the spirit of a national holiday when for most people, it's just another workday. :(
If salaried, stores don't usually pay overtime, however frequently companies that have employees work on the Fourth (or other holidays) that are typically considered days off, will give those employees a comp day.

When I worked in retail, I usually volunteered to work on holidays that the stores were opened (or closed but needed staffing), especially, if it was Christmas (resetting the stores for the post-Christmas sales) or Easter since those holidays don't mean anything to me.
I don't think employers are generally required to pay overtime rates for work on a national holiday, unless the time worked puts the weekly total over 40 hours.

I didn't find a definitive national policy doing just a very quick search, but this page, for example, shows that California law doesn't require any special pay.

Some employers do pay, of course. I seem to recall that years and years (centuries, in fact) ago, when I worked at Waldenbooks, even the hourly employees got a little holiday pay for Christmas, when the store was closed. When I waitressed full-time, though, I don't think I got anything beyond the usual waitstaff minimum wage (i.e. around $2/hour instead of $4.50/hour because of tips) when I worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. (The worst part of it was that they ran out of turkey just as I got off shift.)
I never remember seeing stores being closed for July 4th. Maybe Jackson Heights was different?

And certainly, when July 4th is Friday, in an area that is mildly ambivalent towards even this holiday, it will be business as usual.
Curiously, my gym is even open on the Fourth, but only for a half-day.
Around here stores have always been open on the 4th. I actually never even considered it a not-open day stores. When I was in college and worked at a grocery store (early 1990s), we only closed for Christmas and had a half day on Thanksgiving.
When I was in retail, we were paid time-and-a-half on holidays, and they usually gave us an additional day off as well.
I have found that grocery stores tend to keep hours on July 4. I'd say only start to worry if they keep full hours on Thanksgiving Day.

Costco will still be shut tomorrow.
I suspect it has a fair amount to do with the holiday landing on a Friday. Most celebrations will start in the evening, and many towns are even putting off the parades until Saturday. Also, no overtime needs to be paid at most retail establishments. It isn't necessarily even considered 'Holiday Pay' depending on the employment contract (most retail has few if any stipulations about holidays being special). And these days I can't imagine they have too many problems finding people to take the extra hours.
Around here in SW VA stores have been open on July 4th for quite awhile. On the other hand, a friend just sent me a list of dozens of chains that were closing stores around the country--sometimes big names closing hundreds of them, and this was even before the news about Starbucks. So you never know.
I would say the economy is definitely having an impact... some towns aren't even having fireworks this year.
Certainly could be. I do know that my favorite Chinese restaurant is going to be closed tomorrow which frankly surprised me as they are almost always open.

They say that fireworks sales are down but you wouldn't know it by the popping sounds currently going off outside (at 11:10pm)in a town where the popping sound type of fireworks are supposedly illegal. Only sparklers, fountains, etc.. within the city.
When I worked in retail -- and that was over twenty years ago -- there were only three days that national chains would consistently be closed: Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Some things closed for other days, but those were the Big Three. (And chains like K-mart have been encroaching on those three for at least a decade now.)

So I don't think it's any particular desperation; they were probably open last year and the year before.

December 2016

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