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Unrealistic Canberra retail opening hours: a big whinge

By popgoescanberra - 23 December 2008 146

Does anyone else find Canberra retail opening hours totally unrealistic for the average public servant?

Take myself. I tend to get into the office at around 9am, have an hour for lunch to get some sunshine and eat in peace, and knock off around 5.30pm. The thing is though, I have a life outside of work, which necessitates going shopping. Today, for example, I had the unfortunate state of affairs where a shelf in my fridge broke, I had a package to pick up from the Kingston post office, and my broken mobile phone to replace. The mobile phone took priority. A quick lunch-time trip down to Woden Plaza’s 3 Mobile shop ended up taking almost two hours, thanks to dawdling Christmas foot traffic in the shopping centre, people standing all over the place on the escalators, and the shop itself being quite short-staffed, and those that were there seemed a bit clueless (although polite, I’ll give them that).

Despite having already taken a long lunch, I left my desk in Barton at 4.55pm. By the time I was in Kingston to pick up my parcel, the Kingston Post Office had shut at 5pm. Disappointed, I thought, at least I’ll make it to the fridge repairers in Fyshwick by 5.30pm. I did! But they shut at 5pm. I had tried ringing ahead but there was no answer.

Another similar story: I like to buy vitamin tablets from the Healthy Start Discount Vitamins store near the carousel in Civic. I left my desk in Barton at 5pm, but with traffic along Parkes Way at peak hour (caused by people slowing down too much at the Anzac Parade roundabout), I didn’t get a park off London Circuit and reach the shop until 5.41pm. After clinging to the desperate hope they would shut at 6pm, I had arrived to a dark store. I ended up buying some overpriced vitamins at Coles Manuka.

My point is that shops should open a bit later if they want business. Of course, I understand retail workers have lives too and don’t want to be working forever, they want to get home. But which office workers (of which there are many in Canberra, I am led to believe) go shopping at 9am in the morning? Surely there can’t be that many. We’ve got to get to our desks to make sure Question Time Briefs are up-to-date and all that. My suggestion is that shops open a bit later in the morning and close a bit later at night, for example, 6pm.

On a related but separate matter, I would be quite content to see shops closed on a Sunday. Nice to have the Fyshwick markets and some supermarkets open, the cinemas, gyms, etc., but anything else isn’t really necessary.

What are your thoughts? Anyone else tired of fruitless attempts at buying merchandise or procuring services after work only to find empty and dark shops, then having to make harried shopping trips the following day’s lunchtime, when we really should all be sitting under a tree enjoying a healthy sandwich and a break from the drone of the air-conditioning? Coles Manuka and Woolworths Dickson, those temples to average-quality fruit, smelly fish, ordinary bread and disinterested check-out workers, must do very well out of other retailers’ early closing hours.

What’s Your opinion?

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146 Responses to
Unrealistic Canberra retail opening hours: a big whinge
bluehammer 8:44 am 23 Dec 08

9am – 5:30pm with a full hour for lunch…

Have a chat to some friends in the private sector to find out their tricks for shopping 🙂

Agree with the later start/later finish though. That’s something for everyone. Asia have got it worked out.

And online shopping is the answer to all ills.

Shopping gripe – pensioners and non-working-in-the-9-5-conventional-sense-mothers with prams who shop on weekends when they’ve 5 perfectly good days to do it.

Granny 8:43 am 23 Dec 08

You are just far too law-abiding, popgoescanberra. I certainly agree that lunch is the priority!! This is not negotiable.

So what I would do is amble out, decide where to eat, stand in the queue and order my lunch, then watch carefully as they make it in case they get it wrong. Then stroll on out in the sunshine, pick a favourite spot and eat it in a leisurely fashion as I watch the world go by and ponder on the lives of those that pass.

Then I’d chuck my rubbish in the bin and set off to do everything I had to do, and head back to work. Then, when the boss says, “Why are you late? Rah, rah, rah,” you just tell him or her what happened. You have to understand that it’s not your fault. The world is like this, and you had stuff to do.

After a while, they give up on you and get used to it, and you have them trained.

It’s quite simple really.

Do I have to think of everything?!


H1NG0 8:41 am 23 Dec 08

If it takes you a whole hour to eat your lunch, then no wonder you fail to make it to places on time. You must have the athleticism of a sloth. Yeah, it sucks to have to do things in your lunch break, but thats life. We all have to do it. I’m sure people in retail also have families they want to get home to as well. The bastards.

la mente torbida 8:36 am 23 Dec 08

No meant to be critical

la mente torbida 8:36 am 23 Dec 08

So businesses and staff have to work extraordinary hours so you can shop at your leisure

popgoescanberra 8:31 am 23 Dec 08

The Narrabundah (also a newsagency) and Griffith (also a pharmacy) post offices open until 6pm, it’s very convenient.

Lunch hour is for lunch. If you need to drive fifteen minutes to get places and then back again, plus eat your lunch, doesn’t leave much time in an hour.

Kramer 8:31 am 23 Dec 08

Arrrgh! All those slow walking people in the Mall when I’m doing my 30 minute lunchtime powershop!! Slow elderly, disabled, kids, babies, parents, etc – it’s killing me!!! Especially those who loiter at the top of the escalators! And didn’t people get the message to stand on the left on the escalators?!?


H1NG0 8:31 am 23 Dec 08

I tend to agree. Use your lunchbreak and stand in the queues like the rest of us. Or Alternatively, being a public servant, you could probably take your lunch break a bit earlier or a bit later and miss the crowds. That advice is going to cost you though. I expect a cheque in the mail.

realityskin 8:23 am 23 Dec 08

What a wanker. Use your lunch hour to do stuff you have to do.

popgoescanberra 8:19 am 23 Dec 08

And their 9.30am opening time….means a lunchtime dash is the only option for banking.

While of course being a full-time parent is more than a full-time job, and kids are unpredictable, it would be good to be able to schedule your day the way you and your family wants to rather than being at the whims of superiors. We have work/life balance friendly flexible hours at work, but it still doesn’t stop the guilty feeling when getting in late or leaving early.

Granny 8:19 am 23 Dec 08

Well, I am a night person so often do my grocery shopping close on midnight, and did most of my Christmas shopping during the day (as I am also a full time parent) going through to 10 pm in the evening.

I really do appreciate this facility, but it tends to be only the supermarket chains and department stores who can afford to do it.

It’s nice and quiet at those times, and I must admit that having a whole lot of older daughters does provide a range of babysitting options plus Gramps prefers to stay at home and is happy to let me go out. If I remember, I mention it to him, but he is not surprised to get home and find I’ve got some meeting on or other to rush off to that he wasn’t exactly expecting.

I would think the best way to do it as a public servant is to take advantage of the whole ‘flex’ thing.

H1NG0 8:18 am 23 Dec 08

The Post Office is one place that is dead set in their ways. They will close 5:00pm on the dot. The other day I had a parcel to pick up and managed to make it with about 3 minutes to spare. At 5:00, the doors literally shut on a woman trying to walk in and she was asked to come back tomorrow. It was kind of funny and pathetic at the same time. Poor woman.

Mr Waffle 8:15 am 23 Dec 08

I’ve brought it up before, but the hours of opening for shops are a lot different in Asia, it’s great. For example in Tokyo most retail shops open ~10am (while most people head to work 6-9am depending on where they work), and close 7-9pm, giving a large window of opportunity to head to the shops after work. Some of these opening hours are reflected in areas like Chinatown in Sydney & Melbourne, where shops open and close much later than their ‘local’ counterparts.

I absolutely loathe the banks and their 4-4:30pm closing time. That’s just insanity.

popgoescanberra 8:14 am 23 Dec 08

Or if not shopping or evening chaos, 5.30pm would also be an ideal time for a “GnT”….get it?!!! 🙂

GnT 8:05 am 23 Dec 08

Just goes to show that what you think are convenient shopping hours are not the same for everyone. As a full time parent I find it very convenient to go shopping at 9 am. By 5:30 pm we are well into the swing of the evening chaos and shopping is the last thing on my mind. I would have thought being a business, if they could make money staying open later they would. Since they don’t, maybe they can’t.

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