/ Shopping

Should we be able to shop for longer on Sundays?

Are you all enjoying the relaxation of the Sunday trading laws during the Games? Are you shopping at your leisure? Our Jen is enjoying it, but Charlotte hopes it won’t continue beyond the Olympics.

Jen Davis backs relaxed Sunday trading hours

I hate to sound like a cliché, but as half of a busy working couple, restricted trading hours on a Sunday can be a little inconvenient.

A sleepy Sunday may be ideal for many people, but I don’t think trading hours should make the decision for us.

Whether Sunday trading was initially introduced as a response to religious beliefs, protection for staff or to encourage us to spend time with our families, I think these rules are too prescriptive in the modern day.

It’s important to remember that the UK population has a huge range of different religious beliefs, working hours and family situations. So shouldn’t our retail trading hours reflect that diversity by giving shoppers flexibility?

Of course, I wouldn’t encourage this if it were to be financially damaging to retailers. And while I worry about the rights of retail workers – if employers are upfront and employees are still allowed to opt-out of Sunday working, I really think it could work. I worked in a supermarket while I was a student, and Sunday working slots were always over-subscribed. After all, for many students and working mums, Sundays were the ideal days to work.

As long as there’s an appetite from consumers, a financial benefit for retailers and willing workers available, I think relaxed Sunday trading hours could benefit both us and the economy.

Charlotte Slayford supports Sunday trading restrictions

Unlike Jen, I’m all for restricted trading hours on Sundays as I like to think of Sunday as a special day. I think it’s good discipline for us to not feel the continual need to buy goods at any time we want.

I dislike Saturday shopping but I get round this most of the time by doing nearly all my shopping online. Yes, the Sunday restrictions are a little inconvenient, but with local small convenience stores or mini supermarkets available, what do you urgently need to buy beyond basic groceries available at these outlets? And the fact that shops don’t open until 10 or 11am means you can enjoy a slightly slower pace of life on a Sunday.

I’ll often nip out to get a few goodies on a Sunday. I like the fact that I need to have bought what I need by 4pm, be home and get the dinner on ready for a chilled Sunday evening.

I’m also not sure that I understand the practicalities for shop staff. I worked in retail for a number of years and enjoyed the fact that I received ‘time and a half’ pay for working on Sundays (with the bonus of working fewer hours). If the shops are allowed to open beyond the restrictions I wonder if staff will still get time and a half?

And I’m not sure it’s because I just worked in sleepy towns, but the shops were pretty deserted on Sundays anyway, so I’m not sure the extra hours would make much difference.

So where does your shopping bag sit in this debate? Would you be happy to welcome the extension of shopping hours beyond the Olympics, or do you think Sunday trading restrictions should return?

Should extended Sunday trading hours continue beyond the Olympics?

No - I agree with Charlotte, restricted Sunday shopping hours should return (54%, 233 Votes)

Yes - I agree with Jen, shops should be able to choose their own hours (46%, 196 Votes)

Total Voters: 437

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Sam says:
9 July 2014

As a supermarket colleague I wouldn’t want to see the hours on Sunday extended. Sunday after all is known as a day of rest. You can be selfish for wanting the convenience of having a store open for longer hours, however is it really fair on the people who work in these shops. Some people like the idea of an early finish. Especially if they have children, or want to make the most of a sunny Sunday afternoon. I am aware that some people work after 4pm on a Sunday, but that is usually optional to what you want to work.

So I say keep Sunday as a day of rest. And let it be a special day in the busy week where people get to put their feet up a little.