The good old days! I reckon almost everyone had been exposed to that old cliché, at least once in their life. Possibly from a grandparent, a parent or perhaps even using themselves when talking to their children.
The good old day implies things used to be better in times gone by. This somehow doesn’t seem to apply in the argument over extended shopping hours in South Australia, at least when the Duopoly, Coles and Woolworths, and the interests of the major department stores and shopping centres are concerned. They want people to believe that they deserve more shopping hours.
I remember the good old days, some 35 years ago when the shops were only open 5 1/2 days per week. I remember those Saturdays when the shops closed at 12.30 how the shops used to be so busy that every checkout used to be open, especially as it got closer to closing time, and more often than not there were lines of people waiting to get served. Almost every checkout had a young boy or girl packing the groceries into bags just to move those lines a little bit quicker.
After some heavy lobbying by self interested parties the government gave into the cock and bull story that extended hours would increase employment and that it’s what people wanted. BULLSHIT!
So the hours were extended on Saturday. Instead of more jobs being created the packers slowly started to disappear. Saturday was no longer as busy as they once were and so less checkout operators were needed. The winners were shoppers, who could now sleep in, and the big companies who were taking business away from the smaller convenience stores. The losers were the shop assistants who were forces to work longer hours at the expense of spending quality time with their families.
A few more years went by and then the lobbying started again with renewed vigor. naturally the people deserved more shopping hours and if you keep telling people often enough that their rights are being deprived, sooner or later they will start to believe it. More lies and bullshit as they promise the Government, once again that it will create jobs.
Sunday trade then came into existence but were more jobs created? Not according to some store managers that I talked to at the time. They simply staggered the shifts. If you worked Sunday you would get Monday off. Salaried staff were also forced to work longer hours as this did not affect their wage budget.
As people changed their shopping hours the shops discovered on certain days that just weren’t making enough to cover their overheads. To improve profits they had to make certain cost cuts. Do you remember the days when you would go into those major department stores like Myer and David Jones and sales staff would come up to you asking if you needed assistance? Shit, today you’d be struggling to find anyone, and when you do they can’t help you because it’s not their department. So, where are all the extra jobs those extra shopping hours were supposed to create?
Finally we arrive at the present time. You would think that seeing as how we have shopping seven days a week that the Duopoly and the department stores would be happy, wouldn’t you? Not on your bloody life. With the passing of boxing day on December 26th 2009 the lobbying has started all over again. The people have the right to shop on public holidays don’t they? And surely longer hours will create more jobs?
Do you remember the good old days?