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Sunday Shopping

This blogging thing is really quite addictive so for a third day in a row it seems I have something to talk about.

Today is my first real day back in store, I have spent the last week and a half working in Head office which has given me the luxury of working 9-5, Monday –Friday allowing me to have what many of you consider the norm, a weekend off. This got me thinking about the fact that it is a Sunday and I’m at work.

With the exception of a few specialist stores such as Garden Centres, family run shops and chemists Sunday trading in England was generally not allowed until 1994 when the Sunday Trading Act was introduced.

As someone who works in retail I would love for us to return to this pre-1994 state, obviously the previous reasons for this restriction no longer apply, there isn’t too many people donning their Sunday best and heading for the local church, but that isn’t to say that there are not other equally valid reasons for re-instating this restriction.

According to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia one of the reasons for this change in the Law was to….

“Extended opening hours afford more time to individuals in order to make their choices. They allow individuals to avoid peak shopping hours and having to queue in their free time.”

In relation to the first part of this sentence, “browsing” should be banned; I mean what is its purpose?  Do we have so much disposable income that we can pursue the various wares on offer and purchase whatever takes our fancy? Let’s be honest it’s not a million miles away from watching QVC and deciding that the latest innovation from JML really will enhance your life. If you don’t know what it is that you want then chances are you really don’t need it!

Secondly Sundays are traditionally the second busiest day of the week, they could in fact be considered “Peak Time,” and not “having to queue in their free time” I mean seriously? So much of any given shopping trip is recreational or at best optional; if you choose to spend your “free time” shopping then all of the various “joys” of that experience should be part of it.

Obviously most reasons for not opening on Sundays are based around religious views, that was after all the reason for the restriction in the first place and in a world where the masses worship at the altar of “Ford Super Sunday” rather than attend mass it’s tough to say these are valid reasons.

But the idea of Sunday being family time I believe transcends religion, in a society that “has become more atomised, with greater incidence of divorce, family breakdown and single parenthood.” Surely we should be making more time for families to spend together. I’m not a father but if I was, based on my working schedule I would never see my kids, I leave the house at 7:30 and don’t arrive home until gone 8pm, I’m required to work pretty much every weekend and School holidays off are out of the question due to the increased trade, I don’t imagine that’s all that unusual and with that in mind it’s not that surprising that the quote above is true.

As someone who works in retail is it too much to ask for one day of the week when we get a break? Nowadays bricks and mortar retail operates 364 days a year with our employers and disgruntled shoppers reluctantly allowing us the privilege of spending Xmas at home, only the one day mind you; with the internet open 24/7 making every consumer item and service you could think off available do the reasons stated earlier even apply?

The saddest thing is that this act is responsible for killing the most British of traditions, when was the last time you sat down to a propper Sunday Roast?

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