By Dale Jones
It is one of my all-time favorite episodes of any sitcom in history.
Malcolm Tucker is a businessman who’s car breaks down about two miles outside of Mayberry. He walks to town, only to find the streets empty, the stores closed, and no people anywhere – except at the church.
You see it’s Sunday in Mayberry, and on Sunday, everything closes down. Wally’s filling station is open, but the only business happening there is Gomer pumping gas (“water and air is free”).
Mr. Tucker is livid when he finds out that Wally refuses to even look at his car until Monday morning. He has urgent business in Charlotte the next day, but with the laid back pace of a Mayberry Sunday, things are not looking very promising.
I’m not a genius when it comes to math. To be honest, just getting through general math in high school was quite a chore for me. I do, however, understand economics. I understand the concept of supply and demand, and a balance sheet, and spending less than you bring in.
A few years back, I worked for a national sporting goods company. The store where I worked was located in a shopping mall, and unless it was the holiday season, on Sunday we would work one employee – me. Our hours were shorter, the traffic was much lower, and on many occasions, it had to cost the company more money to be open, than it would have had they been closed.
Chick-fil-a was established years ago, vowing to never be open on Sunday. In most shopping malls, if you agree to lease a space, you are required to be open when the anchor stores are open. Not Chick-fil-a. If they want to be in a shopping mall, they only do it with the understanding that Sundays are like Mayberry. Laid back and closed. If the mall operators won’t allow it, Chick-fil-a looks for a different location.
Where am I going with all of this?
Being closed on Sunday has never hindered the success of Chick-fil-a. I would even venture to say that many businesses do indeed lose money on Sunday by being open. In most cases, retail hours are limited, sales are less, yet costs remain. So why don’t we seriously rethink Sunday?
So what if we as a society decided to consider taking a day off every week? How much pressure would it take off of employees and employers if, on Sunday, they “took the day off?”
What would it do for families if mom and dad could both be home on Sunday?
And just like Mayberry, how bad could it be if, on Sunday, the only building in town that was full was the local church?
I could be wrong, but maybe, just maybe, closing up shop and making Sunday truly a day of worship and rest and family might be a positive thing for our society.
As the episode ends, Goober steps in and saves the day by fixing Mr. Tucker’s car, but by the time it’s done, Mr. Tucker realizes that the importance of getting to Charlotte for his business meeting wasn’t really that important after all.