Jagjit Singh (Lifestyle Express, Doncaster) will be among those welcoming it. He rang me two days before the final vote to have a go at the morality of it, rather than any financial advantage it gave him.
“On Sunday nights we only make £200-£300 (turnover) after hours. It’s a pittance. We make more on a Saturday.”
And although he doesn’t get much himself, he was arguing in favour of family time. “We need to get back to basics, to valuing family time.”
He adds what some might call a sexist note when he says: “Mums should spend more time at home with their children.”
But he’s right in that most checkout staff in supers are women, and most of them are mothers who would like to spend more time with their children. Give any woman the same money for spending time with their family or working in some super and you know what she would pick.
This rather struck me because, when asked what the worst thing about convenience store retailing is, owners will always say that it’s the hours. But it boils down to custom and usage, goes with the territory, so the c-store world expects to trade long hours.
The fact that people don’t like change also played a role in the outcome. The prevailing mood of the shopping public seemed to be that since it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I’ll bet there were cheers all round, too, at the ACS (the ACS press release from the association on the outcome arrived ahead of my BBC home page’s announcement). The ACS deserves a round of applause for its role in getting this bill overturned.