Clopen

I saw a BuzzFeed list about retail that included the “dreaded clopen” or when you close the store at night and then open the next morning. While working at the discount store, I was scheduled to close one night and open the next morning. It’s absolutely ridiculous because the store closed at 9 p.m., which meant working until 9:30 p.m. The store opened at 9 a.m., which meant being there at 8:30 a.m. There are 11 hours in between, but let’s look at how this actually works.

First, when you get off work at 9:30 p.m., you’ve probably been trying to stay awake for the last couple hours and you may have even consumed caffeine. You struggled to stay awake while driving, which means that when you get home you’re too wired to sleep until about 11 p.m.

Second, you have to be at work at 8:30 a.m. to set up before the store opens. This means you had to be up by 7:30 a.m. if you clean up and eat before getting to work.

Third, for whatever reason, I never slept well. It’s possible you worry more about oversleeping or you try harder to get to sleep so you just don’t get a restful night’s sleep of 8 hours. Or maybe that caffeine to keep you up isn’t flushing out of your system as quickly as you planned.

Yet we often forget that people working retail usually have part-time jobs and work at two or three places. This means I have closed at one place (9:30 p.m.) only to pre-open the other at 5 a.m. and work 6 hours on 3-4 hours of sleep.

As we head into the holiday season, stores will be open earlier and later. A store normally open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. is changing to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and some days 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

And worse, the Thanksgiving/Black Thursday hours. My new place will open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., then close until 6 a.m. Yet I’ve heard rumors of stores opening Thanksgiving morning and staying open 41 hours!

I’ve rarely remarked that there is something you can do to improve the life of someone who works retail, but this problem can be fixed:

First, don’t go shopping outside of the regular hours. The “door busters” aren’t the great deal you think they are. If you don’t shop the odd hours, there won’t be a demand and companies won’t open earlier and longer.

Second, write to the companies and tell them you won’t shop them at all that weekend because of the hours they force their employees to work. And, then, follow through because they do track their sales by the hour to gauge demand.