This year Sunday trading comes of age and we can celebrate or commiserate “The Sunday Trading Act 1994”. Its’ formal Royal Assent was granted on July 5, the day before my twin boys were born and it is interesting to look back at what was then, and what is, today. In the lead-up to Sunday shopping we were promised the full range of doom, gloom, the end of the world as we know it, and then some. How do we view it today? Well, I for one, can’t imagine not being able to go out and “run errands” on a Sunday, as if it’s a “normal” day. If anything, the restriction for larger shops to only being allowed to open for six hours, seems to me archaic. If a supermarket would like to open for 8 hours on a Sunday, why shouldn’t they? If the customers aren’t coming through the doors, they will soon enough reduce their opening hours. Who are we to say “No”? Let the market decide! Retail outlets are there for their customers, not the other way round! . In the 21 years since my boys were born we have seen a revolution in shopping and shopping habits. Back in 94 we barely had the internet or mobile phones but we saw a rapid growth in both and as my children’s generation grew up, they haven’t known a time where they couldn’t use a wireless device if making a call away from home, or only know Amazon as the rainforest covering the Amazon delta! Interestingly, Amazon was also founded on July 6 1994. So in just over 24 hours, THREE important things all took place that would change our lives forever.
As bricks and mortar shopping is on the decline and internet shopping has rocketed, we have changed the way we live our lives forever. Some would say, not for the better. I respectfully disagree. Why should I have to jam all my domestic “to-do”s into a packed Saturday? Why have all these outlets open when most people are at work? (It’s a bit like when you used to go to the bank during your lunch hour and the queues were massive, as the staff were also on their break! Now you can apply for a loan from your banking-app in the bus queue!)
Surely it is much better to share the load and have less stress. As much as I can’t imagine my life without those two little boys, I also can’t imagine a society where Sundays are “closed for business”. Not being able to go to Ikea on a Sunday? What a thought!