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.