Boxing Day was once a celebration of giving for tradespeople, but now it’s become synonymous with shopping. Each year chaos reigns, and 2016 may prove to be no different.
Thousands of people are fed up with the madness and they are trying to put a stop to Boxing Day shopping. More than 150,000 people have signed a calling for an end to the Boxing Day madhouse. They hope to close shop doors so that retailers can spend more time with their families around the holidays. Labour MP Helen Jones claims that the system is set up to exploit employees at the bottom of the pay scale.
In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain she said,
“No one died because a shop was shut, and I think we are exercising our freedom to shop whenever we want on the backs of some very low-paid workers, who are being exploited and being denied the freedom to expect to have the time with their families.
I went from feeling quite indifferent about Boxing Day openings to believing it does exploit very low paid workers, who often have to work late on Christmas Eve to get the shops ready and then have to go in very early on Boxing Day morning.”
Her opponents insist that the shopping holiday helps the economy, but Jones disagrees saying, “What I’ve not seen is anything to convince me that Boxing Day generates extra trade, as opposed to just moving it from another day.”
A British Retail Consortium spokeswoman argue against any laws preventing Boxing Day shopping saying, “Boxing Day has for years been a popular shopping day as customers take advantage of the Christmas sales, and retailers will respond accordingly to cater for customer demand. Most retailers offer flexible shift patterns to ensure time off is distributed fairly among those who don’t wish to work throughout the holiday period.”
According to MSN News, not everyone feels that way. The government’s petition committee received more than 6,000 comments on the issue, the vast majority of which were in favor of the ban.
Shadow Business Minister, Bill Esterson, said “Labour supports our 2.7 million retail workers, their families and those retailers who want to act responsibly without the increasing pressure to bring their staff in for ever-longer hours over the Christmas period. Those stores that do not open on Boxing Day – John Lewis, Aldi and Lidl to name a few – saw sales increases last Christmas whilst giving their staff an extra day off.
The Conservative government should respect the 92% of retail workers who want an extra day to enjoy Christmas with their families. Having put in extraordinarily long hours in the run-up to Christmas, they will get just one day to spend with their loved ones. Surely, for their sake, we can all wait one more day for the sales?”