26/12/2011

Sunday Trading - time to rethink

Take - 1
Ah! Merry England, that rural idyl, that utopean dream sequence - village church bells toll, as rosy cheeked little scamps frolick in the fields, butterflies flit amid the late afternoon rays, blonde mum and tall razor-jawed dad gaze peacefully into each other's picnic blanket as a rabbit plays peek-a-boo with a red squirrel from behind the oak providing its canopy for that very same picnic.  Peace, family life, trees, simple food, laughter, love and endless happiness on a bed of lettuce dripping with Heinz salad cream.

Take - 2
People-mover stuck on an inner city A-road, DVD players running for the two in the back seats.  They've been promised new stuff.  Dad can't see to the right, so he can't edge out - he can't see because the Range Rover next door is too tall, and its windows are smoked glass.  Inside this status symbol, Jackie - 5 foot 3 inches, straight blonde hair, serious tailoring and a NEXT bag on the passenger seat, glances into the mirror, firstly to check sunglasses, secondly to check on her brood.  DVD players are running.  They've been promised new stuff.  She can't move because she's a nervous driver; he can't move because he simply cannot see.  Behind them, three-quarters of a mile of traffic has built up.

So, this is Sunday - and maybe it's time for a re-think.

Unbelievable eh?  Preposterous!  What utter madness is this? - Verging on treason, no doubt.  We're looking for growth, we're searching for jobs we're worried to hell about everything and anything, and yet I tell you - the time has come for this country to rethink Sunday trading. 

In fact NOW is the best time to
revert to a more sensible policy.


We got where we are today through the legal wrangling of large retailers, Sunday trading was never fixed here in the UK because the public asked for it.

Largely, as a country we are alone in this practice - and it is responsible for the reduction in time families spend together (or if together - then still subjected to marketing), it is responsible for weekend working to insidiously become 'the norm' and for a lot of managers to now expect their staff to be quite happy about it.  'Flexible working' turned on its head - now it increasingly means 'every other weekend', believe me - this is SERIOUSLY bad news.

Don't forget this can only get worse as time goes on - as managers filter through who don't actually understand, or have never experienced, or actually DON'T WANT a true weekend, the feel of a quiet Sunday.

Sunday trading is responsible for bloated traffic on main roads - with its attendant noise and pollution, it is the least calm thing for anyone to do with their time, and yet we wonder why the quality of life in this country is so, so far below that of most our neighbours.

Why do we do it?  Because time-starved Mrs Smith cannot get there ANY OTHER TIME - or because Messrs Tesco, Argos etc need yet more growth?  And isn't that self-defeating, eventually? 

WHY haven't you got enough time? 
That's the real question -
NOT "Why can't all the shops be open"


Shops are open quite long enough (including 24hrs) the rest of the week, there is no way we NEED to be out there on Sundays, 'choice' that ever cited, over-blown mend-all wheeled out by politicians, critics and pundits alike has really nothing to do with it, and someone has to say it, so it might as well be me - just look what we DO with our blindfold of so-called CHOICE . . . . . we choose to go to ASDA on a Sunday?  Really?

"We Can Help?"

Absolutely Bombarded as we were across Christmas TV with PC World adverts (be VERY aware of any advert that includes "care-free whistling" in its sound-track) - I couldn't help but notice this company's tag-line: "WE CAN HELP"   

Weird isn't it?   I mean - OK, maybe a shop that sells medical stuff, or a service for some NEED - but what exactly could PC World help with?  Opening your wallet? Helping you fill-in some unnecessary 'extended warranty' paperwork?   Just what can PC World help with - other than suggesting something that sells something?

11/12/2011

Supermarkets - Panorama and Me

Nice to see the BBC's  Panorama checking-out Supermarkets on 6th December.  It made we wish I'd verbalised more of the thoughts ..... no, the feelings walking around Tescos << this post >> gave rise to. 

I was aware of the product hiding, the false deals, and prices that seemed high - despite their proclamation of being lower (through some 'message' somewhere - "Price Drop"  or "Lower" or "Deal" or whatever).
Yet more, I was aware of some deeper manipulation going on - and it's different in each shop, within the 'big four'. 

Marketing - (as I supposed we still have to call it) has got so seedy, so tricky, so damned misleading these days - just view any commercial TV station for a while; but should we have to put up with it when it concerns food - for god's sake?