The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 posts, one for each letter of the English alphabet, in April. Most of us choose to make these posts on a particular theme. My theme for 2023 is 1943 Washington D.C., the setting of the novel that I’m writing. Visit daily in April for a new post on my topic.
T is for Thursday night shopping
When did Government Girls shop, given that they worked 48-hour weeks? Modern Americans might assume that they shopped on Sunday, but most stores were closed on Sundays, clear through my childhood in the 1970s.
Instead, shops in Washington D.C. stayed open late on Thursday nights to accommodate people who couldn’t shop during regular business hours.
One night a week wasn’t enough to prevent massive lines and long waits at service counters. Proposals were made in the newspaper to add another night or, even, most nights.
“The Federal Diary,” a regular column about the government in the Washington Post, turned its space over to government employees on Saturdays, using initials to protect the authors’ identities. This proposal by “M.S.K.” was published on January 30, 1943:
I’d like to suggest that retailers for the duration plan their hours to serve those who serve Uncle Sam. The majority of Washington workers are Government employes. Possibly half of them are women. Even men have to shop. All that Government workers need is time and a place to spend the money they earn.
M.S.K proposed that shopping hours on Monday through Friday be 12 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 to 6, reasoning that people who didn’t work could shop in the afternoons.
The federal diary. (1943, Jan 30). The Washington Post (1923-1954) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/federal-diary/docview/151658976/se-2