Now we can’t buy vol-au-vent cases on Boxing Day - but try not to panic
Morrison’s has announced that, unlike last year, it will close stores on Boxing Day to give staff some respite after very stressful times.
M & S will do likewise and others are expected to follow, as they did in 2020.
It’s very early for most normal people to be thinking about Christmas. But supermarkets consider the festive period to be officially underway in either September or whenever the last Cadbury’s Creme Egg has been sold. Whichever comes first.
The fact that Boxing Day closure is even debated is rather depressing. Fair play to those supermarkets closing. However, those that don’t will feel no embarrassment and simply burble something about customer choice, then ker-ching.
Still, come December 27 customers might want to remember shops that didn’t give staff a breather the day before, especially the ones who somewhat unpersuasively insist that they must be open 24 hours per day.
The issue of bank holiday trading is not straightforward for UK businesses and workers as a whole. Clearly there are certain workers who must be permanently accessible.
Then there is the hospitality and leisure sector, sections of which are desperate to open on any bank holidays when most of the population is off. It might even save a few pubs, although they have never all opened on Boxing Day.
A 1994 law change meant supermarkets could open on Sundays (although staff never really had much of a say in this), which leads us to ask; how did this nation cope?
Well we can answer that. Perfectly well thank you. The new law was only ever about profit. Somehow, we’ll get through Boxing Day too.
Supermarkets claim, reasonably, that they’re essential. They sell food and there is literally nothing more essential than eating. But there’s a big difference between “essential” and “needed immediately”.
If you have organised a family do for December 26 and find yourself out of vol-au-vent cases, your loved ones will forgive you (except for my Uncle Paddy who would go berserk).
Supermarkets can’t be trusted to close on future Boxing Days, so perhaps it should be enshrined in law. It isn’t asking much.