Saturday, May 4, 2013

Trading Hours

We love Saltburn. It's a lovely place to live. One of the things we love about it is the quality and diversity of the local shops. It's a little short on good restaurants, but there are plenty of nice places to get a coffee, there's a decent deli, a great bakery serving locally baked bread, and an excellent butcher. Our corner shop does a great range of locally sourced produce, too.

So far, so good.

And yet...

And yet, we fall foul of the English disease - as TLOML puts it - of a lack of financial ambition. These local traders would rather have a shorter working day than make more money. So the butcher knocks off sometime around 3pm, or whenever he's done for the day. On Saturdays the independent green grocer closes at 5pm and the gift shop at 4.30pm. Our corner shop shuts at 6pm and isn't open at all on Sundays. Half the shops selling clothes, jewellry and bits and bobs are closed every Monday. And the chippy near us closes at 9pm.

Our favourite chi-chi coffee shop is closed Monday to Friday.
According to TLOML in the US these quirky hours would just never exist, for everyone who runs a store wants to be open for as long as there might be people who want to buy from them.

I'm not sure lack of shopkeeper greed is the whole reason these places are open for such short hours. I think it's actually lack of demand. After all, up here most people eat their dinner by 7pm - what kind of lunatic would want fish and chips after 9pm? And who on earth goes gift shopping, or wants for exotic vegetables, on a Sunday? Only a foolish Londoner, used to being able to spend money 24/7, I suppose.

No, I think its the lack of consumerism which means this town's many lovely shops just aren't terribly available. The good people of this town are spending their time surfing, walking their dogs or sleeping - while idiots like TLOML are saying things like 'let's pop out and buy some bok choi to have in that stir fry' or 'it was S's birthday yesterday, I'm going to go and find her a present'. I wonder if, after a few months of living here, we'll be better organised and less eager to shop at all hours. Or if we'll just become massive internet shoppers instead. In the interest of keeping Saltburn's local traders healthy, I hope its the former.

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