I too, have a bit of nostalgia for the time when stores closed early on Sat and were closed on Sunday. I completely understand why people who are not Christian would be unhappy to have store hours regulated by the principles of another religion (esp if your religion has a different day set aside for rest and worship). But the reason I miss those days isn't about the religious meaning (my family can hold the day for rest and worship regardless of what the rest of the community does) but it has to do with the cultural shift that goes along with a society of 24/7 stores, instant communication, uninterrupted services and unlimited expectations.
Religious origins aside, there's something to be said for allowing people (and communities) a rest. And for being able to postpone the fulfillment of desires that are not urgent. And for being free from the expectation that you have to be available all the time. And for the less obvious acknowledgement that the lives and needs of others have value too. There *is* a cost to individuals and society though. It's hard to put into words, but the change that has occurred has resulted in greater ease and convenience in many ways, but also in greater pressure and expectations and demands as well. It may be good in many ways, but it still comes with a cost.
I can't say I would choose to give up my conveniences. I'm a fan of shopping from home over the internet myself.
But I do miss the less pressured, less demanding atmosphere. When people weren't able to get everything done on the weekend, then they weren't *expected* to. Ykwim? There were more allowances for people to do stuff during the week b/c it was understood that you needed to.
I have to acknowledge too, that for me to have all these conveniences, someone else must provide the services. And it tends to be those folks who are lower on the socioeconomic status pole who end up working the crummy hours, nights and holidays and such. So the result of all this increased convenience is that demands on time and family for some groups in society are greater. I always wonder whether we so badly need to shop 24 hrs a day in the week before Christmas that those employees at Walmart and Target and such should be forced to work all those hours. When stores closed on Sunday, there was no question that every family could count on having that day every week together. I've worked those jobs in the past (fast food and retail) so I have firsthand experience. Interestingly, my first retail job was at a store that *was* closed on Sunday and I loved that.
So, even though it's great to have conveniences and greater access to services and goods, there are costs too. I don't think our society is ever going to go back to the way it was before. If we closed businesses now, people would only be annoyed and inconvenienced b/c the expectation is firmly ingrained that we need to have these things available as they are now. It would require a major adjustment in expectations at so many levels and I don't see that happening. But I do understand the nostalgia of the original post.