Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter trading

Easter, and what's most visible on the news radar? The same 'impoverished' retailers who, every year, fight the law about not being allowed to trade on Easter Sunday or on Good Friday. Yesterday, on the news, we had a bunch of them boasting at how clever they were to do what they were doing. One stood there saying: I didn't ask any of the staff to come into work; I didn't make these customers come out and buy stuff.
And, yes, his shop was full (it was one of the Odering's garden shops) as was the Real Groovy shop (in Auckland, I think) that was shown.
But how essential was it for these places to be open? Not in the least essential. These shops are open because retailers - some retailers - have got to the point where they can't bear to be closed, in case they lose a few hundred dollars. It's plain greed, and has nothing to do with serving the customers, who would quite happily find something else to do if the shop wasn't open. (Probably something healthier.)
People do not die of retail deprivation. In spite of the notion that 'retail therapy' is supposed to be good for you, no demise on the planet has yet been attributed to a category - cause of death: 'could not shop.'
Nehemiah, in the Book of the same name, shut the city gates on the traders who insisted on coming into the city on the Sabbath, and cleared them off the city walls. No doubt there were Jews in the city then who said: but we can't do without shopping on the Sabbath! Nehemiah proved they could. Perhaps it's time for those who deal with recalcitrant retailers to do more than just charge them a nominal fine.
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