I got a polite email from Imy Saeed saying: “I was reading your Dear Jac article titled ‘Keeping The Peace’. You describe the shopkeeper Subhash as having an impeccable record. From the way I read the article, he is selling cans of beer to Polish workers who come off work early. From your description of a neighbour complaining about the noise car doors make, this suggests that he is selling alcohol before 10am. Pretty sure that is illegal. Any clarification on this?”
I confidently wrote back explaining that Subhash has a licence to sell alcohol from 5am at his Snutch News in Leicester.
Then I got another polite response from Imy (short for Imran) saying that he had just realised that the hours in Scotland are very different from those that apply to England and Wales and to Northern Ireland.
His family business trades as Duns News Plus on the Scottish borders. He and his father are currently considering applying for a licence.
“We’ve been trading here since November 1999. The current financial situation means that we may have to change from a general store into a fully-licensed grocers. It would mean more hours but, in most small towns like ours, trade usually finishes about 7-8pm, with our competition being Co-op and a Costcutter.”
The hours in Scotland are 10am till 10pm and Imy rather likes it that way. “The 10pm shut-off is probably handy for off-licences here in Scotland as it means they don’t feel obliged to stay open past 10pm. We already work long hours.”
Imy directed me to the store’s Facebook page and it’s a lively place. He says: “In a small community like ours, Facebook has proven a very useful tool to promote things we have in store, be it offers or new stock we have in.”
And when the Saeeds get their licence, their Facebook customers will be the first to know.