DayOne incorporating the Lord's Day Observance Society
"The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath"
Mark 2 v 27
Day One President John Roberts
The major supermarkets have been at it again. This time it was Asda and Morrisons who, last November, wrote a joint letter to Government ministers requesting an extension of store trading hours on the Sunday before Christmas.
The Chief Executive of Morrisons, Dalton Philips, and Asda Chief, Andy Clarke, warned the Government of panic buying if the Sunday trading laws were not relaxed in the lead up to Christmas. In the letter they said, ‘We are not asking for 24 hours shopping, just a few extra hours on the Sunday to make the day a bit easier for our shoppers to get what they need.’
Why can’t they be honest about it? The reason for demanding extra hours is not necessarily to make it easier for the customers, or even their staff; it is all about money. According to David Cameron, it is economic war. This is the time to cash in and hear the tills rattle for as many hours as time provides. Neither is it a few hours that they want; their real purpose is to get 24/7 opening hours, even if they have to adopt salami tactics-slice by slice-to get it.
Tesco was unusually very quiet in the run up to Christmas with regard to extra hours of trading. The reason may be that they have a network of convenience stores which, due to their smaller size, are allowed to open longer hours on a Sunday. It is thought that they may not be in favour of extending the six hour limit on trading as their convenience stores are there to lap-up any overspill.
Despite all the continued efforts of the main supermarkets, a spokeswoman for the Government confirmed that it had received the letter requesting an extension, but added, ‘ The Government has no further plans to relax Sunday trading regulations.’ Let us trust that they will keep that promise for the lifetime of this Parliament and beyond.
LET ME HAVE MY SAY!
As I was preparing this article, significant numbers of people were responding to this important issue, with the majority critical of the supermarkets attempts to grasp more hours for trading. Here are just a few.
‘ Always pushing for that little bit more. Double time for the option of working on Sundays has long gone for hardworking staff. Once upon a time, we ate the same amounts per week, and could get it all in a Monday-Friday shop. I can’t say shopping in 2012 is ‘Progressive’ – at least not for those who have to provide the extra service for less pay and conditions.’
‘ If you are with someone who works in retailing, it is a nightmare. They finish late on Christmas Eve, and then go back on Boxing Day. They also work New Year’s Day. No chance of going away at Christmas, and too tired to enjoy it. There is plenty of time already to do shopping.’
‘ Typical supermarkets! Thinking only of themselves.’
‘ For goodness sake, why can’t people manage to buy enough food to last two days? This is more about supermarkets greed and making it easier for their customers to spend money which most of them haven’t got.’
Shops are always geared up for Christmas at least three months before the event, and Christmas is always on the 25th December and will continue to be so. If people can’t get their shopping done in time there must be something wrong ( or maybe they all work for supermarkets, so never get time off ). As for perishable items, the shops will be open again on Boxing Day, or at least the day after, so why do people need to stack up with about four weeks food? Do none of them have a fridge or freezer? All this nonsense about relaxing the trading laws has absolutely nothing to do with customer’s convenience, and everything to do with greed. They are fleecing the very same customers that the supermarkets are soooo caring about!’
Finally, a comment from across the Channel.
‘ I live in France and most stores are closed on Sundays and even some lunchtimes. Guess what, nobody starves and people organise themselves to shop when they are open. They make Sunday family day not the shooting fest that England is obsessed with. I worked in retailing in the UK and Christmas was the worst time of the year. One day off; rude and distressed customers, and the head office closed.
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