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Public Holidays

So the long, long weekend has started!

The Jubilee celebrations are in full swing, people wearing ridiculous hats, waving flags and having street parties are the norm for the next 3 days.

I’m not a royalist, apart from being a tourist attraction I’m not entirely sure what they do, now I don’t mean that as individuals, I’m pretty confident that individually they have contributed both in terms of time and money to many a good cause and they should be praised for that, I mean the institution itself.

At the same time I’m not Anti the royals, much as I am unsure of their purpose I am equally unsure that their existence has any negative impact so I’m not going to bash them either.

Today was, as far as I understand it, the first of the various celebratory events planned for the Queens Diamond Jubilee, starting with a trip down the Thames for the Queen and her family accompanied by many other boats of varying sizes for various reasons. This apparently is the “highlight” of the celebrations, and over 1 million people flocked to London to get a glimpse of the lady herself.

I don’t understand the appeal personally, much in the same way I didn’t understand the infatuation with the Royal Wedding but at the same time I support the right of people to stand in the “great” British weather and cheer, and overall I think the sense of community that events such as this generate is a very positive thing, it’s not all that often that people living in the same street exchange a “Hello” let alone share a beer and a BBQ.    

My only gripe that with these “National Events” is that they are not “National Holidays” now I know what you thinking, but James they are!

 Unfortunately this is not the case, they are simply Bank Holidays, obviously not today it was a Sunday, but the actual day (Tuesday) is, as was the Royal Wedding last year. For much of the country this is the same thing, those in offices for example are indeed off, but for those of us in the retail sector this is not the case, sure we might get some extra pay, maybe even a day off in lieu or an “additional” days holiday, but if you are someone who wishes to partake in the activities you are unable to.

As I said if today had been an National Holiday it’s not like I would have been sitting on the Southbank waiting for the boat to pass, but I might well have spent the day with my other friends and family members who have today and the following 2 days off, and that’s the important thing, days like today, Boxing Day and Easter Sunday are some of the few that you can in most cases guarantee that pretty much all family and friends are available to get together, for those of us in the retail sector this isn’t really the case, if anything they are generally days that you can guarantee that you will be expected to work based on the fact that the rest of the world isn’t working and might like to go shopping, which kind of misses the point.

It’s not only the “unfairness” of being at work whilst much if not a majority of the country enjoys these events, that puts a dampener on your day.

Considering how long this event has been planned you would have thought that the good old British transport system would have been prepared for it.

Unfortunately this was not the case.

Despite this landmark event taking place today, the train company that operates the line that I use to get to work today decided that no additional coaches, trains or staff where needed, so despite arriving 30 minutes before my trains departure time I nearly missed it due to them having only a single staff member manning the ticket booth, I had to stand crushed into the tiny carriage made worse by the people who really didn’t understand that they could move down the carriage to allow more people to get on the train, and then as the one person not travelling to Waterloo, fight my way frantically to the door before the train left the station that I needed to get off at to go and “enjoy” my day at work!

In a world where many shops are open 24 hours, most town centres have late night shopping and of course the internet, do bankers/office workers/government employees etc need a time in which they can have a “day off” during the week? And if so surely we retailers need a “retailer’s holiday” perhaps one weekend a year where no shops are open so we get the privilege of actually experiencing what a weekend off feels like!

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  1. Cathie
    June 4, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I probably could live with the shops being shut for 1 day out of the 4 this weekend… frankly, who couldn’t?

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