Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Doing it yourself all hours

In the old days, rich and even not so rich people used to have everything done for them by servants, butlers and cooks. Some still do today. But generally, today more than any other time, despite – or because of – technology and so-called leisure time, we have to do virtually everything ourselves. It's fair enough we have to dress ourselves and make dinners, but now just about everything else is self-service: petrol stations, supermarkets, and recently the post office. I mean, shouldn't we get a discount if we have to pack our own food or assemble our own furniture? It all feels like more hard work, especially if the bloody machine doesn't work.

It's just been announced that shops will be extending their opening hours on Sundays, and the post office has recently extended its opening times too (no idea why; no one sends letters anymore – let's blame technology again; funny how such an old-fashioned institution has been revitalised due to the internet). All this means more time to spend in queues, more time to get frustrated by self-service machines.

I vaguely remember a time when shops were open 9-5, Monday to Saturday, and closed all day Sunday. If I'd been an adult in those days I would probably have died: if one was doing a 9-5 job, when did they have time to buy food, let alone post letters?

I've always been bemused by shops closing when work finishes; surely they'd do a better trade opening when most people finish work – so, say, 5pm to midnight? The only people around during the day are, well, the retired, the young, the poor and out of work – not, presumably, the demographic of the biggest spenders.

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