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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


LIKE NIGHT & DAY--If Americans lived alternating 24-hour lifestyles there would be less congestion on our roadways, at malls, cellphone stores and maybe even the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

Obviously, there will be more of us in the future. And to make room for more humans on the planet we might start using our off-hours to our advantage. There are plenty of night owls up at all hours to support 24-hour living centers.

If there were services available in the wee yours like an open post office or dry cleaners then night alternative hours living would work. And this could happen quickly.

Here’s a thought: It is high time for the 24-hour mall. There should be a major mall open in every city that’s open 24/7.

In San Diego, for example, let’s take a shopping center that maybe isn’t doing as well as others and retool it for 24-Hour Alternative Hours Living.

At this 24-Hour Mall (like College Grove or Horton Plaza for example) have at least one area of the mall devoted to all the basic human shopping needs: Post Office, Traffic Court, full service department store, Ace Hardware, dry cleaners, a bright and cheery Internet cafĂ©; adult education school; auto parts store; pet store (damn are we out of dog food, again); Sprint or Verizon store and we’d include many of the existing 24-hour operations as well Seven/Eleven; Denny’s; Ralph’s and a medical clinic that could take the load off of ER services in the wee hours.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a 24-hour DMV or social security or mortgage loan office actually open when working folks could go there?

Since musicians are up at that hour anyway, there could be a Casino style concert hall and maybe even a first run theatre that serves food.

The parking lot would be well lit with plenty of security staff patrolling the mall and the lots. Can you believe Bob Baker’s crew is up late selling cars? It’s nice to be nice even at 5 am.

There could be a chapel for late night weddings. KPBS would have longer hours to run its fundraisers.

And, finally, a place where you could see a real person at the bank. And, if I could get a 3 a.m. dental appointment, I’d take it right now.

It’s worth a try. The infrastructure costs are minimal. It would create new jobs. Think about it national chains offer up one of your stores to the 24-hour urban center. Let’s start with our own expanded public services at federal, state, county and municipal level.

We really can’t expect retailers all over the city to start working longer hours. Just doesn’t make sense. But let’s think about a 24-hour shopping mall? And who knows maybe the difference in rush hour traffic could be like night and day.

What business do you wish had longer or evening hours?

Images: Mustafa website and wikipedia. Mustafa Centre (top, left) is one of Singapore's 24-hour shopping malls. Traffic gridlock courtesy of a freeway nearby.

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