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Why are some people always late? Show more Show less
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We all know someone who cannot for the life of them show up anywhere on time. We now have a lot of technology that helps us avoid this issue - so where is the problem? Is being late a symbol of disrespect for others' time? Is being late a symbol of optimism in the amount of time it takes to get somewhere? Or something else entirely?

People try to do too much at once, making them late Show more Show less

People are too busy. They have too much going on.
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Lateness is caused by being overscheduled.

People who are late are pulled in too many directions, and end up unable to get anywhere on time.
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Context

This argument is important because revealing the true cause of lateness can help us target and reduce the societal blight of tardiness.

The Argument

Our society's problem with lateness is a reflection of our problem with busyness. Teens and kids today are overscheduled, making them constantly late because they cannot possibly handle so many obligations. [1] Consequently, their parents are constantly late as well. Our highly digitized society worsens this issue. Some statistics find that we check our phones 96 times a day, eating up precious time.[2] The digital spectrum causes over-scheduling, but it is also a reflection of an already present issue. The constant influence of emails, text messages, and status notifications points to our society's addiction to overscheduling. These constant demands on our time lead us to fall short on everything. People are balancing work, school, social, and health/wellness-related obligations. They cannot keep up anymore. On the whole, Americans may not be later because they’re busier than previous generations, but because they are too busy. Take the exhausted high school student with too much to feasibly do in a day. Consider the business executive dealing with clients and kids at the same time. On the micro-level, this argument explains why most people are late. People don’t do it to be rude or because they’re lazy – they do it because it just happens as a result of their hectic schedules.

Counter arguments

People have always been late, not just in our busy modern era. This means people shouldn't be late more these days. Furthermore, Americans are less busy than they used to be. [3] Working moms are the only demographic in America who have seen their "busyness" go up in terms of their time for leisure going down in the past decades.[4] Busyness is now just a status symbol. Since people are statistically less busy than they used to be, rates of tardiness should have declined.[5] In light of this, it is likely that reports of overwhelming busyness are false, or stem from other issues- not overscheduling.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] People have too much to do for a certain period of time. [P2] With more demands than possible to meet, people end up being late for some of those demands. [P3] For this reason, lateness becomes an unavoidable problem for some people.

Rejecting the premises

[P3] This explanation applies to overscheduled societies as a whole.

References

  1. https://grownandflown.com/teens-over-scheduled-exhausted-fault-parents/
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/americans-check-their-phones-96-times-a-day-300962643.html
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/25/too-busy-americans-leisure-time-work-life-balance
  4. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/the-myth-that-americans-are-busier-than-ever/371350/
  5. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20160909-why-you-feel-busy-all-the-time-when-youre-actually-not

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 17 Jun 2020 at 18:56 UTC