Sunday Shopping

Posted by Craig Saturday, 11 July 2009 ,

England has this really dumb rule about Sunday opening hours- it's only been in the past decade or so that shops (major chains) are allowed to open on Sundays- but only for 6 hours maximum. Scotland of course has a more pragmatic approach to opening and is far more flexible.

To get around the issue of only being allowed to open for 6hrs, many big chains allow people to browse for 30mins before the tills open (therefore maximising the amount of time by ensuring a full potential of 6hrs is available for transactions to take place). Typically stores open at 10:30, 30 mins browsing, then the tills open from 11AM-5PM.

Last Sunday morning I had to go to John Lewis and so decided to get in early. Of course Starbucks was closed (like any Starbucks in Cambridge it has the shortest opening times of any Starbucks I had been to in the world) so ended up grabbing a coffee at the place directly opposite from the John Lewis entrance. Here's the view I had at around 10:27...

This is so so John Lewis !! Yes, open the doors a little earlier and, rather than allow people to browse early, you actually pay staff to stand at the door preventing people from coming in the store! Total madness !

11AM and I'm at the till with the purchases. Of course there's the obligatory middle-aged woman messing around with a trivial transaction taking about 10 times longer than normal. Purse secured in handbag in a manner that the ancient Egyptian tomb-builders would be proud of, such that it takes about 5 minutes to find it. Then the usual thought process of how to pay, then usually a random question, etc. etc. Finally get to pay (note to anyone who happened to be in the queue with me- I don't have tourettes I just swear a lot when I'm frustrated and have no shame).

Next off to Ecco to get some shoes:

Yep, misaligned opening times. I have yet again to stand around for 25mins as the lazy folks in the Ecco store can't get out their bed at the same time as everyone else ! Total and utter joke (and they only open for 5hrs on a Sunday).

Is there really a recession on ? By the attitude of Cambridge shops I really don't think so !!


  1. Kay Says:
  2. I feel your pain. I echo it. It's also very frustrating when shops close at 6 or 7 on weekdays. When do people like me who work really hard and quite often past 7 or even 8 get to go to shop for a treat (like a pair of shoes not chocolate!) for working so hard?

  3. Craig Says:
  4. At least shops in London are open until more 'sensible' hours. I can't help feeling though that shops cater for the unemployed, tourists, or those who stay at home ! It surprises me given the recession that stores aren't making more effort. As you say, if you want to eat unhealthy food (or drink) it's easy- but not do something sensible.

    What's most surprising is that shops in Cambridge (like Borders) that used to open late are actually shutting earlier.

  5. Craig, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is also feeling the pain of getting Sunday restrictions relaxed in France. I wish him all the best in his mission against the selfish hardheaders .

    Could you post your blog in my facebook group Pro Optional Sunday Trading Taskforce (POSTT) ?


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