Do we really need more Sunday shopping hours?
Just how much shopping do we all want to do, especially as many of us are having to tighten our belts?
Restrictions on Sunday trading have eased greatly in recent years – and now the Government plans to completely suspend the rules to allow shops in England and Wales to open for more than six hours to take advantage of tourist trade during the London Olympics.
No doubt if it is a success there will be pressure from the big retailers to make it permanent.
It's amazing to think that, with stores now opening every day of the week and many trading well into the night as well, people still want more hours to go shopping.
And pity the poor shop workers who have no choice in the matter.
It seems there is no single day of the week that is sacrosanct, when they are not at the beck and call of their employers.
A friend working at a department store in Dudley once told me how, despite having been open until really late every day in the run-up to Christmas, a man came to the till five minutes before closing at 10pm and demanded to have all the presents he had just chosen gift-wrapped, a service the store had advertised.
Staff scurried round, stayed late and met his demand.
But it just goes to show that, no matter how long a shop is open, someone will want to push it just that bit further.
And should we be pandering to people who can't be bothered to plan their lives well enough to make sure they do their shopping in a timely fashion.
Surely we only have just so much in our pockets to spend anyway so is it really worth the disruption to the lives of shop staff, their families and our traditional day of rest to open even longer?
See what the rest of Lou's Women think – and have your say – below.
Vicar's wife Amanda Robbie, of West Bromwich, says: "I can't think of anything I'd like to do less - shop more. And that's what most of the country will do if the shops are open more of the time. We won't necessarily buy more stuff. But we'll spend more hours in shops, wandering around aimlessly browsing and wasting our lives away. Unless we work in retail, and then we'll have to work more often when the rest of the family is most likely at home. And so the families of retail workers will suffer, we'll all suffer as we waste time planning our consumption and our society will suffer as people worship in the shopping centre temples and neglect relationships with one another and with God. We could all do with a bit of peace and quiet and time for one another, thank you."
Student Holly Dodd says: "The only time this issue really effects me is come Sunday afternoon when me and my housemates realise, alas too late, that we've been a bit too optimistic with our milk supplies or weekly estimation for toilet roll. I can understand the backlash against extension plans, but if we're going to complain about Sunday trade shouldn't it be an all or nothing kind of thing. After all, for bus drivers, petrol station workers and cinema staff it's just another day. Sunday seems to be the one day in the cultural mindset that has resisted modernisation, but the truth is, not many of us are gathered round the hearth with the newspaper or out on an invigorating family walk anymore, sad to say. And yet there's still a part of me that feels sad that it should be necessary for us to be able to hit the shops seven days a week, and that it maybe it isn't such a bad thing to be legally obliged to a little Zen time!"
Pat Bailey, from Halesowen, says: "Quite honestly it would not worry me either way if someone is mad enough or bored enough to go to the shops 24/7 they are sad persons. Bet a life."
Ballroom dancing champion Lou Thomas says: "I'm all for shops being open 24/7. Then I can choose times to shop which are convenient for me. I sometimes start to think about Sunday dinner half way through the afternoon – just as the supermarkets are closing ! Sunday trading laws are way past their sell by date and I cannot see any point for restricted trading in this day and age. I assume shops were originally closed on Sundays so everyone could go to church but people should have freedom to choose how they spend their leisure time and shops should be free to open if they want to . And perhaps more jobs would be created to service the extra hours so good for the economy too. "
Julie Wilson, from Stourbridge, says: "I think there should be one day a week when it is limited. Extending opening for big shops on Sundays is just one more nail in the coffin for small independent stores."
"Llama Lady" Chris Armstrong says: "I have no problems with extending shopping hours. Why should Sunday be any different to any other day? Sundays used to be saved for church goers but we are not a religious country any more. For people who work unsociable hours they need time to shop. There are shops open 24 hours 7 days a week already so what difference does it make? Merry Hill is open all sorts of hours at Christmas build up so why not make the most of the tourists and have the shops open for the Olympics?"
Kidderminster midwife Ellie Wright says: "I disagree with Sunday trading but like other people tolerated the decision when it went ahead. Sunday is a special day, the Sabbath, a day of rest. I guess the majority of people are not religious and want to move on. Just how much shopping do people want to do? Will it ever stop? I can appreciate businesses (and the government) wanting to cash in during the Olympics, but I hope if it does go ahead it is just for the two months and no more."
Social worker and former Willenhall Carnival Queen Stacey Senior says: "I say about time! I wish shops were open until midnight Saturday and from 8am Sunday! The weekend is my only chance to shop and do any DIY. Sunday already feels like the shortest day of the week so by extending the opening hours you won't feel rushed or pressured if you have forgotten to buy the stuffing or apple sauce! Sunday is definitely a shopping day for me. I'm more likely to relax on Saturday! I see no harm in increasing the hours. Can't wait!"
Language coordinator Irina James says: "I would be against extending the trading hours beyond the Olympics. Were they extended and made permanent beyond this event, I think it would have a direct and detrimental effect on families. Families are spending precious little time together as we stand. Sunday is the time to get together and share experiences. Let's not forget that Sunday should also be a day of rest and having the opportunity to go to Sunday Service. David Cameron was talking about 'the broken society'. Surely this commercial experiment would do nothing towards fixing it. Make your minds up David & George!"
Elaine James, of Cookley, near Kidderminster, says: "I've got mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, it does provide more employment, especially for those that have young children but need to work to supplement the family income. Often by extending the working hours into the evening and weekends means that it is easier to share looking after the children. However, I remember the days when there was no Sunday opening and no late or 24 hour opening and I'm still alive. I didn't starve. It's all down to good planning which I'm sure most people are capable of especially if it means they might not eat."
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