A Day of Rest, not anymore!!

I grew up in a small village in West Sussex and clearly remember shops being shut half day Wednesday’s and nothing was open on a Sunday other than the newsagent in the morning and the village pub.  Even supermarkets, which were a quarter of the size they are now, were only open 9-5.

I was 15 when I started work in a local supermarket and I remember Sunday’s being a replenishment day.  I worked on the checkouts but often did overtime at double time on the shopfloor on a Sunday to help get the store ready for the next days trading. We even had the old manual tills but the new scanner checkouts came in around the same time that the supermarket opened its doors for the first time for Sunday trading.

I worked Sunday’s for almost all the 16 years I worked in retail.  In my original contract I not only got double time on Sunday’s and Bank Holiday’s but also got a Saturday premium as weekends were classed as unsociable hours.  Times have changed a lot.

I remember when new starters only got offered time and a half for Sunday shifts and the Saturday premium was phased out, but these days it is classed as a normal working working week and no-one is entitled to anything extra.  Supermarket workers are also expected to work Bank Holiday’s as part of their normal shift pattern and I don’t agree with it.

Today it has been revealed by Sky News that the Government has made a U-Turn on Sunday trading laws which means that shops could be open longer on Sundays despite a recent reassurance to a campaign group that this would not happen.

I left the retail world in January 2006 and began work in an investment bank which was a revelation to me.  There were unsociable hours as we covered trading all over the globe which meant we had shifts with 4am starts and 11pm finishes, but weekends off.  After years of working weekends I finally got quality family time and have not looked back since.

Hubby on the other hand still works in retail and the weekends are their busiest days of the week.  We are lucky that in his current job he has one weekend off and one weekend on, something that was unheard of in his previous roles, but it is still frustrating when we want a day out and I have to go alone with the children whilst he is stuck at work.  The only saving grace is that the Sunday shift is shorter hours and there is no late night.

Now it looks as though this could be changing and shops being given the permission to open longer.  Quality family time is becoming harder to achieve, especially for retail workers and being older, wiser and perhaps a little grumpier these days I wonder why we really need these shops to be open on a Sunday.


Sunday should be a day of rest, going for a family walk along the beach or exploring the local forest.  Even chilling out in the garden or setting up a board game if the weather is rubbish.  I remember Saturday’s as a child chilling out on the sofa, eating fish and chips whilst watching the footie with my dad and Sunday was all about the Grand Prix, before heading out for some fresh air. Why do people feel the need to shop every day?

They say that extending Sunday trading by two hours in London alone would create 3,000 jobs and generate over £200m a year in income which is great for unemployment, but having seen my ex-colleagues made redundant in recent months due to restructuring, how many existing staff are going to be leaned on and expected to work these extra hours rather than new recruits being taken on?

Do you think extended opening hours on a Sunday is a good idea or would you like to see Sunday as a day of rest again?

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com


16 thoughts on “A Day of Rest, not anymore!!”

  1. The town where we live still has half day closing on a Wednesday and when I first moved here from London, I thought it was outdated. However since I’ve learned to slow down and live in the now, I actually like the half day closing, even if it can be inconvenient if you get halfway to town then remember that the shop you want to go to is closed!
    With our busy lives I do appreciate the convenience that longer opening hours in retail brings, but I do think it is equally important to have a day of rest. It’s all about balance, but it can be hard to manage.

  2. I remember my local town having a half day closing day when I was growing up. It’s all slowly changing now though. I think businesses often think with their wallets – what can they do to make the most money – rather than consider how to look after their employees well-being (which family time can play a large part in). My husband works a lot of weekends and sometimes we’re like ships passing in the night.

  3. I really don’t want to go shopping on a Sunday or a bank holiday – where is the fun in that? I could be happy if we didn’t have nearly so much open to be honest and I don’t feel I need shops to be open late into the evening either. It is important that staff in retail have time off and retailers are often not the best of employers.

  4. I remember a time when the shops were closed on a Sunday – well, all, apart from the local corner shop. Hearing this on the news this morning actually makes me really sad. I mean, the world is not going to stop turning if the shops aren’t open so late on a Sunday, or even open at all! It’s the same with the Christmas holidays – everything starts getting back to normal on Boxing Day, it’s all rush, rush, rush…

  5. Oh I really don’t miss the retail world at all… although I did used to love getting double time on bank holidays. I remember half day closing on Wednesdays and nothing being open on a Sunday and really wish we could go back to that life. x

  6. I live in a village like nadine where everything shuts for a half day on a wednesday. I understand that bricks and mortar shops are finding it hard to compete in this digital age, but I am not sure longer hours on a Sunday are the answer

  7. We laugh at the French but they have it just about right. Many small shops and smaller supermarkets open Sunday morning only, along with bars and restaurants for lunch. In return they often close Mondays. All the Hypermarkets and all major stores close all day Sunday and Public holidays. You don’t see the French complaining. Family time rules here!

  8. I don’t see why we need shops open any more than they are. Its good to have something open on a Sunday for emergencies but I don’t see why it needs to be open normal hours.

  9. I love Sundays off! I remember my summers in Switzerland, where Sunday was kept religiously and nothing moved on the road until way past lunch! I would love us as a society to show our families respect by returning to Sundays off, Kara!xx

  10. I’m so glad I am no longer in retail. We all know that they will not take on extra staff and that current staff will have to sacrifice more time away from their families to cover the hours. Family life can really suffer if you are having to work at the weekend rather than spend it with your family. x

  11. Totally with you – I too worked in retail – and even in my last job Sundays were still optional – tho the days of extra pay were long gone – as was extra pay for bank holidays – I remember getting double time AND a day off in lieu when I started at 18! I loved my job in the book shop, but am aware if I went back now I would be expected to work every Saturday and every other Sunday – with the kids all at school that would leave 2 days a month of family time, which just isnt enough in my opinion. And dont even get me started on shops opening boxing day….ggggrrrrrr!! People seem to think they have a right to shop, but dont stop to think about retail workers right to a family life.


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