Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Opening Times

Just going to throw this out there for debate...

Generally, I'm against bank and public holidays because they're a classic case of Bastiat's broken window fallacy - that you get a "free" day off, when in reality, someone has to pay for that and it's going to be the employee, so giving people a public holiday means either that someone gets less money or more realistically that they take a day off at a time when they'd rather not and creates uneven demand for roads, beaches, zoos with all sorts of bad effects.

But I do think that there's something useful about Xmas Day and Boxing Day in that it's a time when families get together, most people participate in it, and so they don't have to muck around booking time off as you have it by default. Two days means one day with his family, one day with hers.

When it comes to Easter I don't think it has that for most people, though. Where Xmas has become a time of merriment, a time for family and pushed out nearly all the Christian aspect and become universal, Easter really is more something for the Christians, who represent a rather small percentage of the population. Today is just Sunday for me - bacon sandwiches, roast dinner with the family, play Minecraft with the kids, watch The Man in the White Suit. And for most of my extended family, the same is true. It's just like any other Sunday, except I can't go and buy some plants for the garden.


Kj said...

These holidays has to have some basis in popular "demand", tradition or what not. So maybe it's not that relevant anymore. As you say, christmas, and sundays IMO has attained a secular tradition around it. But I'm slightly more conservative I have to admit. Maybe we can take the least culturally relevant holidays and make them voluntary/moveable/convert them to regular vacation days.

The Stigler said...


Why go to all that trouble? Just scrap them and let people work out their holidays with their employers.

Bank holidays are an illusion of something for free. Bread and circuses by the state to show the generosity of the state's ideology (may day=socialism, queen's birthday=conservatism/monarchism/patriotism, Raster=king/church) but ultimately paid for by the workers.

Kj said...

Yes, ofcourse it's paid for one way or the other, but to the reasons why we should keep (some) holidays, including sundays, I refer you to you own reasoning regarding christmas.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, but if you wanted to work on Easter Friday and Monday, you could because you are self-employed.

Plenty of people will be working all four days (buses, pubs etc) and even more will be working on three of the four days (supermarkets).

There are others who could do some "working from home" if they were so minded.

To cut a long story, it is a very good idea for school holidays to be staggered throughout the country, and the same goes for summer Bank Holidays (otherwise the roads just get jammed), but a couple of fixed days where everybody buggers around at home doesn't do any harm.

Whether the shops ought to be shut should be decided between employers and employees, the government shouldn't be dictating things like this.

The Stigler said...


I'm saying that certain days may have a use because of co-ordination between people. I think that applies to Christmas but not Easter. If you scrapped the two bank holidays at Christmas, people would probably still take them, though.


Actually, it's not always that simple. A lot of my work requires talking to other people. I can write a load of code, but if the specificiation isn't clear, I need to be on the phone. So I generally work office hours.

That said, I've never really minded working on bank holiday days because I'd rather be using a quieter day.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS: "If you scrapped the two bank holidays at Christmas, people would probably still take them, though."

Excellent way of looking at things, and you thereby win the argument.

There are people who like having a family get together at Easter (probably on Sunday which for most people is a day off work anyway), but the same applies to birthdays, anniversaries or anything else.

Maybe some families/groups prefer meeting up to mark a different day of the year, if that doesn't happen to fall on a weekend or Bank Holiday they are screwed anyway as it is unlikely that they will all get a day off on the same (week)day.

Dr Evil said...

I notice that attending church did not figure on your list. Tut, tut, tut. The holiest day in the church calendar too. Far more important than Christmas. And it's a time for families to get together as there are 4 days not 2 as at Christmas.

Leg-iron said...

You could have bought plants in Local Shop. We were open today - it still is, I was on the morning shift.

Scotland seems to be largely ignoring this particular Bank Holiday - I hope, because I do have time off this week and it would be dreadful to finally be able to get to the shops, only to find them all closed!

The Stigler said...

You're right. And for some people, Eid or Diwali or some random day may be more important.

Dr Evil,
I'm not religious. I celebrate Christmas as a winter feast, like my ancestors would have celebrated Yule.

Unlikely. I was after (long story) a specific clematis.

Derek said...

Scotland doesn't really have national public holidays. Even bank holidays are really just holidays for banks. Public holidays in Scotland are local, so Aberdeen is open for business when Edinburgh is closed. As MW says, this cuts down on traffic congestion and means that holidaymakers have somewhere open to visit.