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Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

Sunday Trading – more, not less, please

Many moons ago there was a time in the UK when most of the shops were closed in England on Sunday. As a non-religious person I used to  get bored to death on Sundays, about the best you could do was to visit an over-priced garden centre or go to the beach.

Today of course all that has changed and yet we STILL in the 21st century have some really silly, out-dated laws governing opening times even though we don’t need this to protect employees (minimum wage and the working time directive etc.) – and I don’t recall as a consumer or citizen ever being ASKED if I wanted these silly restrictions to continue.

The government is now putting out signals to indicate there could be a permanent change in the law (HURRAY) and yet watching Sky this morning I couldn’t help thinking we were back in the dark ages with the shopkeepers association unbelievably griping about the possibility of longer hours. Would these perhaps be the same people who said that consumers would not want to go shopping on Sundays (I remember the arguments well and I also remember the step-change in habits when shops DID start opening on Sundays) – even though certainly my experience suggests that Sunday is THE most popular day to shop – the MetroCentre in Gateshead is PACKED on Sundays – perhaps because many who are NOT in the retail sector are working most other days?

The sooner shops are allowed to open when they want and not when the government wants – the better. Bring it on!

Retail versus the Web

Never let it be said I don’t try to shop retail….

After a tip-off that Asda have a Bluetooth keyboard the same width as the iPad, I put my Apple keypad on eBay and planned a trip to Gateshead for the weekend to get the new keypad – along with a replacement soldering iron bit for my bog-standard Antex soldering iron. In addition, the backlight went on my keyboard and so I decided it was time, after several years, to go buy a new one.

First stop Maplin in Gateshead, one of very few places left where you can buy electronic stuff locally (there is always RS Components but they close on Sundays and as for so many others, Sunday is my best day for shopping). The guy showed me a pack of generic soldering iron tips that weren’t even remotely suitable – that was it, our main electronics component shop and they had one set of soldering iron tips. Fail. While I was there I had a look at keyboards – nothing but low-end rubbish.

Next stop Asda. After a thorough look around the relevant section of the store I finally asked an assistant who clearly didn’t know what a Bluetooth keyboard was – she rang up the store manager who obviously didn’t know either. You would think they’d simply get on the computer and check stock, but no.

Last stop PC-world. You would imagine as a shop that sells games, they’d have a range of top-end keyboards – but no, just one vastly over-priced Logitech gaming keyboard and the rest were your average run of the mill.

So.. when I got home I spent 5 minutes on the web and ordered everything I need, wondering why on earth I ventured out in the first place.  I did manage to buy an excellent stand for the iPad from Poundland but that hardly justified the fiver or so in petrol for the wasted morning trip.

Peter Scargill