“Not Open on Sunday!” Ensign, June 1984, 63–64
“If you took a look at my books, you might not be quite so anxious to open your store on Sunday! I can show you mathematically that we did not make any profit on Sunday during the years our business was open on Sunday!”
As a young couple, my wife and I worked for several years in Idaho Falls in eating establishments which were open on Sunday. During that time, we noticed that on Sunday, the business often lost money. The machinery always seemed to break down, and then we could not serve the customers. Repairmen charged twice as much on that day. Good hired help was hard to find. We vowed that if we were ever able to buy a business of our own, we would make some changes.
The opportunity finally came one year with the purchase of a drive-in. The loan we took out to buy the business was heavy, and the finance people and the owners of surrounding food establishments assured us that we did not have the slightest chance of paying off our loan if we did not compete on the biggest sales day of the week—Sunday. Because we had already paid the down payment and wanted to make a success of our enterprise we felt trapped. We stayed open.
As predicted, Sunday proved to be our biggest day. Having made the decision to stay open on Sunday, we couldn’t change. We were afraid of the business we would lose. Eventually, in the back of our minds, grew the fear that if we did not serve people on Sunday, we would lose our customers and be unable to raise the more than $60,000 we needed to make the business ours.
We had almost reached our goal when I had a heart attack. Because good Sunday help was hard to find, we agreed to close on Sunday from Thanksgiving until Father’s Day.
My doctor was pleased with our decision, happy that I could get some much needed rest. But as the months passed, I became worried about the low volume of business we had on our books. One day I told my wife that we should again open on Sunday. She looked at me in silence for several seconds, then said, “First, go look in the mirror and see if you look like a man who could stand seven days of work each week!”
“I guess I don’t have to look,” I answered slowly. “We’d better forget the whole idea.”
Later, as we sat down together to review and evaluate our business year, our fears were confirmed—our gross sales were over $17,000 lower than the previous years! But in spite of our low volume, our balance showed only $10.00 less profit! We were amazed. Pleased with such figures, we agreed to keep the drive-in closed on Sunday for another year. Again, the volume was way down but the profit was no less. Our drive-in was a success without opening on Sunday!
When I think of the poor effect on my health and all the work I did for nothing on those Sundays, I am surprised it took me as long to learn the lesson that obedience to the law of the Sabbath carries its own reward. The Sabbath is the Lord’s day. We will all be blessed for honoring it.