rfbooth.com :: thoughts :: Easter Sunday

(A petulant rant about poor communication.)

I went to the supermarket last Sunday. Nothing unusual in that; I have this unfortunate tendency to work during the week, and supermarkets on a Saturday are like the last days of Babylon. I tend to use my local Asda, simply because it is local, and thus convenient.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it's all leading up to this, horrifying, fact: Asda was closed.

Now, they have an excuse of sorts. It was, after all, Easter Sunday, and this is nominally a Christian country. This isn't much of an excuse, when you get right down to it; we long since abandoned the weekly ‘day of rest’, and supermarkets are pretty much open all the time.

This is a Good Thing, in my opinion, simply because many people are in the same situation as I; either they don't get home from work in time to shop (it's 10pm now, as I type this, and I'm in the office), or they're simply too tired. If they have a significant other, they're in the same position.

Try an exercise for me. Go to your local supermarket during the day, next Saturday. Now imagine what it would be like if all the people who now shop on Sundays were there as well. Not good.

For the same kind of reasons, supermarkets tend to be open for much of the day on bank holidays (note to foreigners: several times a year, this country stops for a day. This is called a Bank Holiday. No-one knows why). Again, this is a Good Thing, including for staff, who are typically paid triple time or more for volunteering to go to work.

But last Sunday, just after noon, there was nothing. If they weren't closed, then they were making a good go of pretending to be so; all the gates were locked, the car parks were empty, and the only activity extant was a bunch of would-be shoppers wandering around and swearing.

And this is the problem. We're used to our supermarkets being open every day. It never occurred to me that Asda might be shut. There were no signs, you see. Maybe they were open, and had locked their gates as part of some bizarre religious observance; we couldn't be sure. After all, the opening hours board claimed they were open on Sundays, and nothing else was claiming otherwise.

More to the point, there had been no warning. They close, a little, over the Christmas period. They also have signs up for weeks in advance telling us when they'll close and when they'll be open.

I can deal with you being closed on a holiday, o retail shrine. I don't like it, but so it goes. But next time, let me know you're going to close, and have the courtesy to tell me you are closed.

I feel much better now ...