Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Fun Online Polls: The next US President & Sunday trading hours

The results to last week-and-a-half's Fun Online Poll were as follows:

Who do you think will win the US presidential election in 2016?

Donald Trump (R) - 57%
Hillary Clinton (D) - 40%
Other, please specify - 3%

We'll see… Best comment:

TheViewFromMountRushmore: Other. The money men will win just like they've won every other US election.

A good turnout of 107 voters, thank you everybody who took part.
Unbeknownst to me, the government wanted to grant local councils the power to allow larger stores (that's the modern word for 'shops' despite being a complete misnomer - a store is what's in the warehouse FFS) to open longer than six hours (the current limit in England), but the government motion was defeated today.

Relaxing Sunday trading laws was of course one of John Major's many fine achievements. I remember peering out of my the front window of my flat to see if the Woolworth's up the road was really open on the first Sunday (it was, which cheered me up).

So that's this week's Fun Online Poll: is six hours 'about right', too long or not long enough?

Vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.

(Ever the small 'c' conservative, I'm happy with the status quo of six hours. It's great for shopping, but shop workers need time with their families too and if I get dragged off shopping on a Sunday, I'd like to be home by six.

More bizarrely, the people who oppose this are a mix of hard-left Trade Unionists, hard-right Christians and the self-promoting SNP, who allow larger shops to open for ten hours on Sundays. Go figure.)


Bayard said...

"(that's the modern word for 'shops' despite being a complete misnomer - a store is what's in the warehouse FFS)"

It's just more creeping Americanisation. Interestingly shop has always meant "booth or shed for trade or work," whereas, as you say, store originally meant not so much the building, but what was kept in it.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, good point about "shop". Could also mean "workshop" etc, but at least it is English. We are a nation of shopkeepers not a nation of Goddam' storekeepers.

The Stigler said...

There's plenty of time for people to have off. It's not like Sainsbury's would turn people from working 10-5 into 10-midnight. They'll have another shift.

In general, I don't mind that much. I know where the just-below-the-size-limit Tesco Metro/Morrisons stores are, and that's most shopping covered. I'm not that bothered if I can't buy some china or a coat at 6pm on a Sunday.

Five thoughts:-
1) I'm in favour of reform on principle. These laws only exist because of Jesus.
2) There's certainly cases where it would help, like around Christmas
3) Small shops are closing. Many of them only exist because someone once sunk money into one. When they retire, the business won't get taken over.
4) Amazon Instant will pick up a lot of the problem anyway (as well as driving more small shops to the wall)
5) Easter Sunday. There's broad support for Christmas being a bit special. It's a day when people get together. But almost no-one treats Easter as a special day. But you can't go to B&Q. I'd like that to be sorted out.

Antisthenes said...

What has been highlighted by the commons vote on Sunday trading is the gross hypocrisy of the SNP. Sunday all day trading is already allowed in Scotland yet they voted against allowing it in England and Wales. If ever there was a case for an English parliament then they have provided it. Better still kick them out of the union.

L fairfax said...

Ideally not many hours, but it should be decided by local councils. I believe in localism although sadly councils are very unrepresentative due to how FPTP works.

Kj said...

When sections of the current coalition govt hereabouts suggested abolishing the rather strict sunday closing laws (very few shops are allowed to open at all, but everyone else gets 4 sundays that's usually spent before christmas) hereabouts, it didn't go well. Actually there was almost unanimous opposition from all the retailer orgs; they saw it as a sort of prisoner's dilemma. Labour costs on sunday are high, and margins very thin most of the year (except for a few segments), but they'd have no choice but to open up on sundays, potentially adding 30-40 days of losses - and the smaller retailers would be further disadvantaged, except that those who would be able to tally up family members to work for free on sundays. So neither employers or employees wanted it. It's one of those cultural things, that hasn't much to do with religion anymore, and I admit I'm happy that they ditched it.

Bayard said...

"I'm in favour of reform on principle. These laws only exist because of Jesus."

The idea of the sabbath, the day of rest, is far, far older than Jesus. ISTM like an empirical, rather than a religious thing: when most work is physical labour you get more work out of a worker if you let them rest one day in seven. Whether that still applies when most work is mental labour is a matter of debate.

The Stigler said...


Yes, it is. But Jews don't celebrate theirs on Sunday, but on Saturday. And I'm not against people having at least one day off, and yes, it's good for people to do it. But, in which case, why don't we have the same laws on Saturday? And we don't apply these laws to warehouse workers or people on call centres, but only to shops. And then, only to big shops rather than small ones.

I've worked on projects where we had to put in some 6 day weeks and I've always chosen Saturday as my day off. I'd much rather work on Sunday.

Bayard said...

TS, agreed that Sunday being the day of rest is a hangover from more theocratic days. I suppose the argumant is whether it's better for the citizens and the economy if everyone has the same day off, or whether everyone has at least one day off a week. The five-day working week, BTW, is something pretty recent.
There's some interesting stuff at