My favorite Instagram account to follow is that of the family-owned Mexican restaurant just down the road from my house. And it’s not because of carefully-curated, professional quality photos or excellent marketing material. There is none of that. In fact, this account is the opposite of everything “They” tell you to do to promote a business on social media.
It’s primarily pictures of handwritten notes as to when the restaurant will be closed or photos of their family gatherings. I don’t remember the last time there was a picture of food!
A recent post was of a handwritten note: “We’ll be closed for Mother’s Day.” Mother’s Day! When restaurants can make a killing on brunch! Even restaurants that are usually closed on Sundays open their doors on Mother’s Day.
But this restaurant is named after the materfamilias who runs the kitchen. Shouldn’t she get a day off to be celebrated? Of course! Is closing on Mother’s Day the best plan to increase their business revenue? No.
Thankfully, the mighty dollar doesn’t seem to be this establishment’s all-consuming concern. In fact, the whole enterprise is gloriously pro-family. It goes against all the worst trends of capitalism’s tunnel vision on profit.
When you walk into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by the matriarch’s son, Eric, who runs the dining area but excels at cooking as well. You should expect to be there for awhile. Your meal will be cooked individually. It’s not going to be an exhibition of streamlined efficiency. It takes as long as it would if you were in a Mexican grandmother’s kitchen because that’s basically where you are.
Wacoans know it’s the best Mexican food in town. It’s worth the wait. If Eric asks you whether you prefer the chilaquiles when he cooks them or when his mom cooks them, refuse to answer! The food is too good to make any enemies in the kitchen. (But be sure to order the chilaquiles. With the green sauce. You can thank me later.)
While you’re waiting for your food, you might be asked if you want to try some of Eric’s latest salsa successes. You should say yes. Your mouth will be so happy. He enjoys making many varieties and come to think of it, we’ve never been charged for them. Maybe that’s because we’re regulars but my guess is that he shares his salsa because it is a joy.
If there’s a family event–graduation, out of town visitors, a holiday, etc–you can expect the restaurant to be closed. The Instagram feed will inform you. Then you might see Instagram videos of the whole family at a party or graduation. They are having way more fun than you are. (No, really, I don’t care how much fun you’re having. Their party is more fun. I’ve SEEN the Instagram posts.)
In this economic system it’s shocking to see a business in service to a family rather than a family at the mercy of the companies employing its members, without even the freedom to celebrate Mother’s Day. This business providing incredible Mexican food to our town is an art form to delight in, a boon to our neighborhood, and financially sustaining for their family. This should not be a luxury, but for the many employed by companies that can demand employees to work in a way that damages their family life, it certainly seems like a luxury.
When we walk down to our neighborhood Mexican place, it’s a refreshing experience to feel like a human being interacting with another human being rather than merely a consumer in an environment that dehumanizes and commodifies human beings. The way capitalism makes a god of profit shapes our treatment of other people made in God’s image. (Capitalism is, of course, not the same thing as commerce. People had businesses and supported families before the rise of capitalism.) And yes, it’s problems are acknowledged by the Church. Pope Benedict XVI in an address in 2013 said,
In recent centuries, ideologies that praised the cult of nation, race and social class have proved to be real idolatries; and the same could be said of reckless capitalism with its worship of profit that results in crisis, inequality and poverty. People today share more and more a common feeling about the inalienable dignity of every human being and about our reciprocal and interdependent responsibility for it; and this is to the advantage of true civilization, the civilization of love. However, unfortunately, our time also knows the shadows that hide God’s plan.
In what Pope Francis calls our “throwaway culture” in which even human beings are treated like commodities, our neighborhood Mexican restaurant is, in the words of You’ve Got Mail’s Frank Navasky, a “lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly, in the corrupt sands of commerce.”
So get your tacos somewhere else on Mother’s Day. In fact, just cook for mum at home! (That way you don’t have to support companies that require their employees to miss out on celebrating their moms.) And on the other days, support businesses that treat employees and customers like real human beings rather than cogs in a machine. But be sure to always check the neighborhood Mexican restaurant’s Instagram. They might be closing early to attend a family party. And my guess is that it will be totally awesome.
Photo by Herson Rodriguez on Unsplash
I loved this post; you are so right!
Hi Haley! Love your blog and the conversations you get started.
I don’t claim to be an expert, but I think there’s some misunderstandings of what capitalism is. Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production. Capitalism does not make a God of profit – it is a system. Human beings, as we are fallen, make a God of profit, misusing the gift of a free market.
It’s actually capitalism and a free market that enable this beautiful family to run their business as they choose. They own it and therefore they do as they please. They’re able to close for Mother’s Day because there is a market of consumers who appreciate that about their business and will not boycott them because of their decision. If customers didn’t like this about the restaurant, they would not stay in business – another consequence of the free market. Similarly, if everyone all of the sudden decided to stop going to Chick-fil-a because it’s closed on Sundays, the restaurant would go out of business. This is how the market works.
Capitalism is what is allowing these hard-working families to flourish. Do people make unethical choices? Yes. Do people make a God of profit? Yes. But that’s free will and happens no matter the economic system. If you are very much opposed to capitalism and would like an alternative, I suggest looking at the current situation in Venezuela and how the country go to the point it’s at today.
I think we may be working on different definitions of capitalism. A capitalist economy consolidates capital in the hands of the owners while workers serve as labor. This often leads to exploitation and damage to family life. In this case, capitalism is not what allows this family-owned restaurant to flourish because the “labor” is directly benefitting from the production and is in charge of the business decisions made. This is not the case for most workers.
Yes, it is definitely important to specify the aspects of capitalism to which you are referring. In general, the concept of a free market economy (aka, basic capitalism!) does allow a lot of prosperity and growth! But you are correct that modern forms of capitalism can disparage workers and create even more barriers to healthy, happy lives.
I am glad this family has found the right balance. I’m not sure I’d call it “Anti-Capitalist” on principle, but I understand what you mean.
This sounds more anti-greed. Their can be different perceptions of capitalism, but only one truth and I think it’s important we debate on facts and not feelings. Merriam-Webster defines capitalism as, “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” There is nothing innately greedy about this.
Capitalism does not inherently exploit people, although someone can take the system and use it that way, just as you can take any system and use it to exploit someone (check all Eastern bloc countries after WWII and the history of the USSR). As Katie writes, it is capitalism and free market that allows this family to run their business how they please, which in turn won over customers like you and will support their business. Fortunately, with capitalism we’re free to shop where we want which includes NOT shopping at places that are ruled by greed. With socialism, the state controls businesses and this family-owned shop would not be able to run their restaurant the want they want. When the state controls businesses, you risk laws like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws. With capitalism we can research companies like this https://www.triplepundit.com/2014/02/3p-weekend-10-companies-pay-living-wage/ and support them with our business because we share the same values.
Thank you for your time 🙂
Susie — I’m confused by your example of the state controlling businesses as Jim Crow laws. Those were put in place in the US in a capitalist society. So how is that an example of socialist law? (I think there are examples of the gov’t having an overly heavy hand in socialist systems, but the Jim Crow laws seem to prove that the government can also squelch freedom in a capitalist economy.)
Jim Crow Laws were anti-capitalist because they interfered with free markets, or you could say ‘free choice.’ Business owners were not free to allow whomever they wanted into their establishments – the government mandated who they could do (and not do) business with. This is much like the many bakers who are recently in trouble for refusing to make wedding cakes for gay weddings. The government is telling those business they have to fill those orders. They cannot run their business the way they want. This is anti-capitalistic as well. Although the US is mostly capitalist, it is not at all absolute. We have many laws in place that violate a true capitalist economy. Another example would be trade laws.
Susie — well, going by your definitions, if we’re going to accept Jim Crow laws as an example of socialism, we’d also have to include the illegality of prostitution, child labor laws, any restriction on immigration (or at least work visas), and the prohibition on slavery — all of which are limitations on business that the free market itself didn’t prevent. If that’s socialism, sign me up!
Thanks for this clarification. This “anti-capitalist” post about a privately owned business, which is only made possible through capitalism, is misinformed at best. We can choose to use capitalism to support the things we care about (i.e., “conscious capitalism”) but the alternatives to capitalism, where resources are owned by the state or “by the people,” won’t benefit anyone. As wise commentors have pointed out, greed is evil, but we shouldn’t let that fool us into supporting economic systems that have disastrous consequences.
To learn more about capitalism and how it helps us to direct resources to the things we care about in the most efficient way, pick up a copy of Economics in One Lesson.
Jane, people owned businesses before the rise of capitalism. A privately-owned business is not “only made possible through capitalism.”
Since reading your post, I’ve been doing some reading to broaden my view- I do understand where you are coming from about the “labor” being allowed to benefit from the decisions, etc. But isn’t capitalism what allows the lovely family-owned restaurant to exist? And while we, as Catholics, would deem that having Sundays for rest and family time is in the best interest of the family, wouldn’t the alternative be allowing a government or agency to TELL US what is in the best interest of our family? Asking with a genuine interest in learning more.
Vanessa Redmond says
AAAAAAAAAAMEN!!! Haley, you knocked this out of the park. And I’m holding my breath for you because it seems every time Catholics think critically about the downside to capitalism (the worship of profit over human life, as you said…which isn’t to say there isn’t a good side, also!) people always come out of the woodwork who somehow take those criticisms personally, or who think that perhaps you’re condoning communism (as though that was the suggested alternative!). This post also reminds me of the contradiction (and real spiritual emptiness) of a lot of Black Friday shopping, which falls literally the day after we give thanks for everything we have! Anyway, right on and thank you for posting. 🙂
Awesome post! Kudos to the restaurant and to you for celebrating their approach to business!
Chelsea Clarkson says
Hi Haley! I very much enjoy your blog and the conversations you start. Thanks for your work!
I am a bit perplexed at this post, though. What exactly do you mean when you say capitalism? For one, capitalism is an economic system, and like all systems it can be corrupted (that does not mean it’s inherently evil). But it’s not capitalism that makes a god of profit – human beings do. It strikes me as odd that you would call a family-owned restaurant anti-capitalist when so much of what they do is made possible by the system. And if they were not seeking a profit, they would not be able to stay open. Clearly they’ve done a wonderful job and have attracted customers that don’t mind them closing for various holidays and occasions. That’s the free market at work.
I also think it’s inappropriate to imply that pro-family equals anti-capitalist (and vice versa). For instance, my family has been going to the same family-owned restaurant on Christmas Eve since I was a small child. Sure, they could close that day and my family probably wouldn’t hold it against them. But they see a market opportunity to serve a lot of the same customers year after year, and they take advantage of it. What’s wrong with that? They do good business and it probably helps them out a great deal at the end of the year.
And to harshly judge all employers that ask their employees to work during an inconvenient time is unfair. Employment is a two-way street (an often forgotten fact!). And there are many people out of work who would gladly take that same job to provide for their families.
Maybe I’m just misunderstanding, so I apologize if that’s the case! It sounds like a delightful restaurant, I just think there are sweeping generalizations that ought to be more considered.
Katie, I replied to some of your comment here in my response to your first comment above. But I wanted to make one point here. I don’t think it’s just for employers to demand their employees to work in order to gain more profit for the employer when it is detrimental to the worker’s family life. You gave the example of ChickFila being closed on Sundays–this is more than a business decision, this is treating workers with justice and following the catechism for that matter! “Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day.” And merely because there are desperate people seeking employment who WOULD take on a job that is detrimental to family life does not make it ethical for an employer to exploit them merely because they have the power to do so. A family-owned restaurant may be open for Christmas Eve because they chose to do so or because it is necessary for their finances, but for the business owners to demand their workers to do so (or else they’ll lose their jobs and be unable to care for their families) is, in my opinion, highly unethical.
Hi Haley and Katie,
I love this discussion. Haley, your example of the employer mandating workers working Christmas Eve is a business decision and this is not directly caused by capitalism. If anything capitalism gives businesses the option to not work on Christmas Eve. Capitalism doesn’t drive the businesses to abuse workers.
It’s a free will type of argument. Us having free will and being able to choose sin doesn’t make free will evil.
There are businesses that need to stay open longer than others. Farmers for example need to work more intensely in the summer while teachers have the summer off. They need to have the freedom to do so. Some people need the night shift as an option so they can be home with their kids. Some people need the overtime so they can support their stay at home wife and kids. People are in all sorts of situations and need to have companies available that will offer them the hours they need.
Capitalism gives the business owners the ability to choose their policies. As a worker, I would rather have the business owners choose their policies over the government choosing the business policies. At least in a capitalist system I as a worker can choose to work at a company that shares my beliefs; but if the government were to mandate all companies have the same policies, I no longer have the option to choose my work environment for good or bad.
I am curious as to what your definition of detrimental to the family life is and where you draw the line. Whether you are a member of a socialist, communist, capitalist, or distributist system, people have to put in hours to work. I don’t think work is detrimental to family life. Capitalism in its pure form is a blessing to families because it is driven by consumer choice and allows for private ownership. So if enough people choose to shop at places that are off on Sunday, that would drive more businesses to close on Sunday. It is a free market. But there are also labor laws even under capitalism to protect workers.
I do like the idea of distributism, but for me it is a “both and.” I like the idea of distributism but I also believe capitalism is a system that not only works on a practical level, it is conducive to family life, and is in accord with church teaching in regards to private property. See CCC Article 7.
Catherine, I would chip in that this:
” in a capitalist system I as a worker can choose to work at a company that shares my beliefs”
is generally not the case for vast swaths of workers. The employer holds all the cards. Being able to find an employer that cares if you need to go to Mass or see your kids is a true luxury for far too many. The fact that there are so many out of work who will jump in, ready and desperate to be taken advantage of, shows how desperate and powerless workers are more than it shows anything else . My husband, a college professor by trade but out of work as such, is one such worker these days, and he has zero ability to choose an employer that shares his beliefs. It’s hard enough to find one that doesn’t.
Hi Haley – sorry for the double comments! I didn’t think my first one had gone through and then somewhat forgot all I had written. But I think some of the other commentators have communicated some of my thoughts. I mainly just wanted to get across that calling this family anti-capitalist seems inappropriate. For one, the true definition of capitalism is what I wrote out in my first comment. To use a different definition is misleading, and not actually speaking about capitalism. Also, true proponents of capitalism would define it in the same way as I did. Those who advocate for and practice otherwise are not actually capitalists.
And Dr. Laura (few comments below) makes a great point as well. It is important to recognize that the economic system actually functioning in the US today is not true capitalism, but a blend. I would argue that the actual free market components are what allow for prosperity, while the more socialist/fascist/corporatist aspects are quite damaging. A free market economy left to play out simply through human action is by far the best scenario for anyone (understanding that yes, humans are still human so nothing is perfect), the family included.
As Chesterton said, the problem with Capitalism is that there are too few capitalists.
I love that they are so pro-family! I was always a defender of capitalism until the last year or so. I began to read more from the Church and I started to see how negatively the chase for profit affects humans. I do wonder if capitalism itself is the problem or if it’s the immorality of the people in the system. Maybe capitalism can be great, but the relativistic views of the wealthy cause it to be immoral?
Do you have any recommendations for reading material regarding economics and morality? I know I don’t agree with socialism, and I do think free markets tend to be best. However, I’m never sure how to fit those things in with being against the greed capitalism has wrought. I enjoy reading and learning from all perspectives. I can read things from people like Ben Shapiro as well as Elizabeth Bruenig even if I disagree with certain things they say. So, I have no objections to reading material that might not fit with what I believe.
I love that you mentioned Ben Shapiro!
Have you heard of Distributism? It’s pretty sweet. It’s basically an economic system based on Catholic Teaching. Catholic authors like Hilaire Belloc and GK Chesterton were really into it. I don’t have any books that I know of about it but a simple google search will probably give you a lot of good info!
A great read is “The Church and the Market” by Tom Woods. Also, the Mises Institute (mises.org) has an abundance of free resources on free market economics (founder is Catholic, lots of contributors are as well).
Mom of Six says
Definitely agree with the pro-capitalist commentors above. I also wonder whether the restaurant-owning family would actually describe themselves as anti-capitalist. Have you had discussions with them concerning their preferred economic system?
Hi Haley, You quoted CCC 2187 above as supporting that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. I do think that is really wonderful, but I wanted to add that that same Catechism section immediately goes on to say the following after the sentence you quoted: “Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. …” This is an issue that our family has prayed and wrestled with, and I think it is important to include this part of what the Catechism says as well. I am very grateful for your podcast and the FB group!!
Thank you for pointing that out. I think we also sometimes forget that not everyone recognizes Sunday as sacred. We neglect atheists and a whole other slew of people who follow different religions that don’t recognize Sunday. I do love it how things shut down in Germany on Sundays. But, America is my home and if an atheist wants to observe Monday as a day of rest instead of Sunday, so be it.
Dr Laura M Grimes says
I am glad to see the cordiality here but also think people may be talking past each other a due to lack of crucial distinctions and clarifying language. As a theologian and homeschool mama who just had an uber fun time rediscovering Thomas Aquinas by Audible listening and discussion of his treatise on law from the Summa with my brilliant high school/early college maiden I think his methods may come to our rescue!
He sets up simple sounding yes or no questions about huge questions which people often have passionately opposed opinions about. And his answer so frequently distinguishes between one sense or meaning of a word which may be absolutely true philosophically and/or theologically and another sense which is the opposite that my daughter started to groan but also anticipate that set up and try to figure out which would be which before listening to his answer–total joy for her teacher of course!
It seems like the question here is whether reason and/or faith says that capitalism is good for the family (several commenters) or bad for the family (Haley). Similar questions could be posed about socialism, communism, distributism, etc. and are equally difficult to answer because 1) there are different, some better and some worse, versions of each system and 2) as people pointed out in comments original sin and human choices can bring good and bad results in any system. Thus the church has condemned both extreme versions of each philosophy and bad behavior of people and groups within the healthy versions that can undermine good and cause evil. For instance communism/socialism as practiced in Soviet Russia or China often included not just persecution of religion but government oppression and unjust power to bureaucrats which was against real communism while democratic socialism in Europe is in many ways quite in harmony with Catholic social teaching.
The biggest distinction in capitalism I see is between actual free market capitalism in classical philosophy and the present American system which is nowhere near that but has massive government action in support of business and against the common good via corporate welfare transferring wealth from the citizens, especially poor ones, to huge corporations and ultra rich people, by undermining the free market. The Pope actively condemns this as anti life and unholy and against Scripture and tradition on social justice but too many American Catholics do not listen and fail to see the historical changes from a healthier free market in the fifties and sixties with higher but still just taxation used for the common good and restrictions on companies’ abuse of environment and workers to the past several decades since Reaganomics began driving families into egregious unChristian poverty.
If I am understanding people correctly this is the kind of excess/false capitalism I believe Haley is following the Holy Father in critiquing but the simple language of anti capitalism is understandably causing commenters to point out the good points of healthy capitalism especially where it can promote freedom.
I know some historians refer to the system in the former Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries as “state capitalism” meaning that the economic system was completely controlled by the state rather than the workers!
The social democratic systems in Northern Europe would be closer to my ideal of a just economic and political system.
Dr. Laura: This: “The present American system which is nowhere near [free market capitalism] but has massive government action in support of business and against the common good via corporate welfare transferring wealth from the citizens, especially poor ones, to huge corporations and ultra rich people, by undermining the free market.” was SO helpful in clarifying this topic. Thanks.
Melissa Morris says
Loved this so much. I think you really hit the nail on the head. I’m confused by the people upset/thinking you are anti-capitalism. That is not what I took from this at all. I wish I lived in Waco and could support this business.
Well the title is the glorious pro-family anti-capitalism of my neighborhood Mexican restaurant sooo…not sure how else people should take her own words?
Mary Silloway says
My family will hopefully be traveling to Waco next spring as a winter escape and I would love to know the name of this restaurant so we can visit it. It sounds like a great place to take my littles while we’re staying there.
Alisa Zimmerman says
This post and the comments remind me of a job my mom had for a company that made fresh fruit gift items. Every holiday, including Mother’s Day, was insanely busy with some employees (most of whom were mothers) working 18 hr days leading up to the holiday. My mom put her foot down about working that long and the management allowed her to do so. With another employer, that could have cost her the job. I am also aware that my mom could take that risk because my family did not need her income – the job was more something to do while us kids were in school.
The franchise owners always gave all the employees day spa gift cards after a holiday and their stores were closed on Sundays until corporate policy mandated otherwise.
With all that said, I agree that we need a cultural shift in how we treat workers. My mom’s experience has made me a lot more conscious about patronizing businesses on holidays. I may still end up eating out or running to the store, but I am very aware that the employees that serve me are people with (hopefully) people who love them back home.
Hi Haley! I’m just here to say: hang in there! I know this kind of post is unpopular but keep writing stuff like this.
Make sure people understand capitalism can damage families. Make sure they understand defending family means not only defending the idea of family or defending your own family, but defending all families and their right to spend time together.
And that of course defending families means defending the rights of working parents who are doing their best to support and take care of their families! Thank you, Haley 🙂
I know I’m a little late to comment, but I just wanted to add a vote of support for this post and all of your follow-up comments regarding the true nature of capitalism. To say that the free market is what allows the family to have a flourishing business in the first place is purely false and perpetuates the false idea that there are only two systems of economics-capitalism or socialism. I also think it’s so important to emphasize that a body of OWNERS choosing to work on a holiday is quite different from employers requesting that their employees to work on a holiday. Especially because these employees often accept the burden out of necessity and desperation to provide for their families, as you so eloquently pointed out. Employment is most certainly NOT a two-way street in a society with unbridled capitalism. I also find it interesting that proponents of capitalism applaud a business owner’s decision to stay open on family holidays for the sake of embracing a good opportunity for profit, but claim that capitalism doesn’t make profit a god or place profit above the family. To me, this is clearly a symptom of a society wreaked by the havoc of profit-obsession. How refreshing to read of a family who fully embraces and appreciates the richness that abundant time together offers.
Wrong again, Haley.
Brigid DeMoor says
I had no idea Frank Navasky was going to be so down to earth. 🙂 🙂
I would love to follow this amazing restaurant on Instagram! Please tell me the name of it! We’ll also definitely try it as we pass through Waco next. Loved your article, thanks!! 🙂
The real issue is sinful nature which comes in many forms. Business owners who live out the sin of love of money and will do anything for a buck are doing so because of sin. There is no perfect economic system because there are no perfect humans. Capitalism doesn’t make people greedy. People are greedy because all human beings are fallen and can only be saved through the blood of Jesus Christ who gave Himself freely through death on the cross and Resurrection to life eternal.
I had a job in high school that I learned after the fact would require me to work on Sundays. It broke my heart because when I had to work I had to miss church so I prayed fervently and God answered my prayer with a job at a business that was not open on Saturdays. There are many others who have no problem working on Sundays but for me, it’s a non-negotiable. Yet I’ve noticed many, many Christians eat out on Sunday which means workers have to serve them, cooks have to be in early that morning to prep and bake. Are we keeping them from church? Perhaps we are. But it isn’t capitalism keeping them from church. It’s consumers who want to eat out on Sundays who create the demand which then feeds the supply from businesses eager to make money which then creates demand for laborers which then is fed by the supply of individuals who work those hours/days.
While I appreciate you recognizing a local business that puts their family before their profits, anti-capitalism is pretty far off the mark.
Brittany Cuenin says
It’s quite trendy for people to use the term anti-capitalist in the U.S. which, I believe, is a way to signal their empathy for people. As Dr. Laura commented, there are many questions regarding capitalism that are not easy yes/no questions. Of course the free market has remarkably changed in the last 50 years, and there is much more (way too much) in my opinion government intervention. But, think about all off the good the free market has brought to people across the globe: http://www.aei.org/publication/700-million-humans-have-moved-out-of-deep-poverty-in-the-21st-century-thank-capitalism/
That’s an astounding statistic, particularly looked at in the spectrum of human history.
I find it interesting that many Christians (Catholics) I know are more concerned about economic policy than the recent vote in Ireland to legalize abortion. That’s much more of an urgent, oppressive concern.
I can relate with my own family’s restaurant. It’s heartening to hear we aren’t the only one. But I wonder if your Mexican family would appreciate being labelled anti-capitalist, since that is such a loaded term, and most people obviously think you are endorsing the alternative scenario. So how about calling your post, “proud anti-greed business”?
Oh, this is a pretty brave blog post title ;). Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl! I know nobody is going to read this comment anymore, but hey, let me add some anecdotes for fun.
I live in a European student town, one that is ‘socialist’ by American standards. There are lots of Americans doing their studies (ba, ma, phd) here and I’ve befriended plenty of them during their years here.
It’s interesting to see how they dislike the way they are treated as a customer. In their mind, the customer is king, is always right and should never be denied the opportunity to spend money at someone’s business. So they are super surprised when they enter a store at 5.50 (stores close at 6pm), to be denied access, because the store workers are wrapping up and only serve the last few customers still standing in line. They lock the doors at 6 pm to go home, no matter how many people are standing outside wanting to buy something.
They are shocked because the cashiers don’t smile at them on some days. Their jobs are well protected by the law and they have to do their work, but their aren’t required to smile or be chipper all the time to make the customer feel better. When you do get a smile from them, you’ll know it’s a genuine one :).
Traditionally, Sunday is the day of rest for nearly all businesses, just because that has always been the case. We had a short bout of ’24/7 economy’ trials in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, but it wasn’t working at all. Supermarkets stayed open till 11, but after the initial enthusiasm of the public, they sat mostly empty in the evenings. Same with shopping on Sundays. We do have some special ‘shopping Sundays’ before big holidays, but most Sundays everything is very quiet in most towns.
This has nothing to do with Christianity anymore, but a lot with less extreme ideas about what capitalism is. When I traveled in the US, I encountered what I named ‘cowboy capitalism’. What I means by that is situations I considered extreme because the government (to my mind) wasn’t doing enough to protect people in their jobs and the general culture was so strongly focused on spending and consuming whenever and however you want.
Growing up my dad always had the rule: we don’t make people work for us on Sundays, so that nobody is forced to work for us. We avoided swimming pools, cinema’s, stores, restaurants and even gas stations and went into nature instead. While I am not quite so ‘Amish’ about Sundays, I do appreciate that idea and largely out of habit, I do the same on Sundays.