Got errands? Now is the time


This upcoming Sunday is the Super Bowl, the championship game for a sport played only in the United States.¹

The entire country stops doing anything when the game is on. This makes it a perfect time to get out and run your errands, because the streets will be completely empty.

Check out this traffic map at the kickoff of the 2014 Super Bowl. For fun, you can go backward in time in 10-minute increments and watch the traffic slowly die out as the start of the game approaches.

If you're a photographer, it's a good time to go take pictures of public places, because they will all be deserted.

It's also a good time to go to Costco, though you should wait until the game has started. It takes time for all the people getting last-minute party supplies to drain out.

¹ Well, Canada has their own variant. They're so cute, those Canadians.

Bonus chatter: The American Football League of China is a real thing.

Comments (24)
  1. pc says:

    Many years ago now, my wife worked as a supermarket cashier and was working during the Superbowl. It was somewhat spooky just how empty everywhere was, both in the store and outside.

  2. Erik F says:

    The Grey Cup is played at the end of November, as it should be. It's you Americans who think that football is a winter game! :-)

    I had to work a helpdesk doing telephone support and the Super Bowl was a perfect time to get routine maintenance work done. Blessed silence, only available then and (maybe) Easter and Christmas!

  3. Alex Cohn says:

    Here, such national game is a fast, it is called Yom Kippur. But it's also the day of kid's bicycles.

  4. Blake says:

    If you're in a place where the weather is amenable, it's also a fantastic time to play golf - typically you'll have the whole course to yourself, or close to it.

  5. Phil says:

    Where I'm at, many retailers (including Costco) have shorter hours on Sunday, and close before the game starts.  Grocery stores and restaurants are open though.

  6. Alex says:

    @Erik F

    > The Grey Cup is played at the end of November, as it should be. It's you Americans who think that football is a winter game! :-)

    I think the problem is that over in Canada the only available winter sport is snow-shoeing. :P (says the guy who used to live south of the tropic of Cancer)

  7. morlamweb says:

    @Erik F: no, it's in November so that Canadian sports fans don't have to split their time between sports and can focus on ice hockey : )

  8. John Ludlow says:

    There were adverts for superbowl games at Wembley Stadium in London. They're even talking about a regular hosting event. (londonist.com/.../could-wembley-host-the-super-bowl.php). Why, I have no idea.

  9. J. Peterson says:

    It's a good time to buy a car.  The salespeople will do most anything to close the deal and get back to the game.

  10. prasun says:

    >  The American Football League of China is a real thing.

    There's also the Elite Football League of India

  11. Muzer says:

    Ah, so THAT'S why I've suddenly started seeing NFL adverts on British TV *shudder*.

  12. Steve D says:

    I guess similar things happen in many places.  In Melbourne, Australia, the main ones are the Australian Football League Grand Final and the Melbourne Cup.  As a kid we used to often watch the first half at home and then drive to my grandmother's house during the half-time break.  It was always the best run on the roads for the whole year.  I imagine it would be a great opportunity to go cycling, except that I'm watching!  The Melbourne Cup has a similar effect, with varying impact across the nation, although being a horse race, it only has an impact for about 15 minutes.

  13. Andrei Vajna II says:

    There's also an American Football championship in Romania: en.wikipedia.org/.../National_American_Football_Championship_of_Romania

    But it's probably not as interesting a thing as the one in China.

  14. Steve says:

    @John Ludlow - 'Why, I have no idea.' Because (a) the NFL is always looking to expand into international territories and (b) there's a substantial fan-base for the NFL in the UK; they've been playing games at Wembley for several years now, with three regular-season games in September & October 2014 all full, and they're doing it again later this year, with the ultimate aim of hosting a team at Wembley. It may not interest you yourself, but there's a lot of people, myself included, who are into the game. xkcd covered this last week: http://xkcd.com/1480/

  15. Boris says:

    Not being _that_ immersed into American culture, I had to double-check that Super Bowl has something to do with American football. I recall no awareness of that name before the much-publicized "wardrobe malfunction".

  16. N S says:

    Going shopping when you want customer service during the Super Bowl isn't a good idea.  My wife went to Costco to pick up some reading glasses and the attendants at the optometry area couldn't take their eyes off the game and couldn't care less about actually serving customers.

  17. John Ludlow says:

    @Anonymous - isn't that essentially the same story I linked? londonist.com/.../could-wembley-host-the-super-bowl.php

    I guess there must be a point to it since they're willing to spend money to make it happen. I just don't know what the point is, that's all.

  18. Anonymous says:

    @ John Ludlow - Just saying there are plans for London itself to have a team.  If London has a team, hosting wouldn't be so alien, would it?

  19. John Ludlow says:

    @Steve - Not sure what your point was. If it's that NFL is actually really popular in the UK, then [citation-needed]. Also, my comment would still stand, since I'm not sure *why* it would be popular in the UK because it has no cultural ties to the UK. I'm not saying people in the UK are wrong to enjoy the sport (hey, if you enjoy it, then I wish you all the best with your enjoyment of it).

    Three games a year doesn't seem a lot compared to how many FIFA and UEFA football games are played in the UK.

    If your point was that you're into the game so I should be too, then while I wish you all the best with your enjoyment of it, I don't see why I would be required to get the same enjoyment out of it.

    If your point was that I should take xkcd's sentiment, then I agree it's a great sentiment, just with two flaws: a) Randall has probably had a lot more success talking to people about things he is interested in, and b) I am really not very good at pretending.

  20. Steve says:

    @John Ludlow "If your point was that you're into the game so I should be too, then while I wish you all the best with your enjoyment of it, I don't see why I would be required to get the same enjoyment out of it."

    I think we're disagreeing unnecessarily here - I'm not asking you to get into American football, I'm just presenting a counter to your suggestion that there were no valid reasons why there might be NFL games played in the UK.

    Anyway, with the Superbowl over it's now nothing but endless mock drafts from now until April; imagine those tedious Premier League 'Transfer Deadline Day' programmes stretched out over the next three months and you'll get the general idea.

  21. John Ludlow says:

    @Steve - Yeah, I just really wasn't clear from your comment what you were saying, so I needed the clarification (thanks for that).

    "I'm just presenting a counter to your suggestion that there were no valid reasons why there might be NFL games played in the UK."

    Perhaps I didn't explain my point clearly. I wasn't saying there aren't valid reasons. I just weren't sure what they were. I think that's an important distinction. Sometimes people do weird things for reasons I don't understand.

    In theory, there could be a valid reason to lock a bunch of Z-list celebrities in a building and watch them do nothing for a few weeks (and, for some reason, periodically let one of them out). I have no understanding of what that reason would be, but it must be there because we keep doing it. (Big Brother)

  22. jmac_the_man says:

    Canada has also hosted NFL games. The Buffalo Bills played a few "home" games per year in Canada for the past few years, although the new owner of the Bills terminated the arrangement because fans in Buffalo hated it, so there won't be any games there in future seasons.

    Also I think I remember that Mexico had a preseason game at one point.

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