1). Where has this general lack of commitment in small businesses come from?
What I'm talking about is shops not opening until 10pm. Disgusting lack of commitment. When my mum had her shop, she was NEVER late opening. And when I worked for her I was NEVER late in opening - I would have felt as though I had let her down if I'd opened at 9.05am. Sometimes, if she had arrived at the shop very early to do some stock checking or something, she'd open up anyway, even if it was only half eight. She worked 9-5, six days a week, even when she was ill. She was sit behind that counter with raging fevers and streaming nose, and welcome her customers just the same. Customers would never be aware of any of my mum's stresses or bad moods, because she was never anything but friendly and helpful.
So when I traipse across town, specifically to buy something (I'm not talking about just popping in for a browse and a warm), and I'm greeted by a locked door, a sign saying 'closed', and another sign saying 'opening times: Monday to Friday - 10am-5pm, Saturday - 10.30am-4.30pm' I am not amused. Short opening hours create a bad impression. They tell me that the proprietor is lazy, and that they have decided to take advantage of their self-employed status by allowing themselves an extra hour in bed. I'm more committed to their business than they are because I have shown up at ten past nine. They're probably making their leisurely way into work, smiling at how wonderful life is now that they don't have to do a full day's work, blissfully unaware that they are losing a customer. It's not that I'm holding a grudge, I just haven't got time enough to waste in waiting around for them. If I've gone there to buy something that I need, then I'll go and find somewhere else to buy it from. If I've gone there to buy something that I want, then I might remember that I don't need it and I might not bother to buy it at all. They've lost me.
And it would stand to reason, to me, that I am not the only customer that businesses lose this way. Town is usually already busy by 9am. I am not saying that this lack of commitment is why so many small businesses fail at the moment - absolutely not; we all know the big reasons for that. But it wouldn't hurt these businesses to make a few more sales by treating their early bird customers with a little more respect.
The 10am-opening-time-problem has happened to me this morning. That's why it's on my mind. But lately it seems to happen every time I come into town. I'm always in early because I come straight from taking Thomas and James to school.
2). Why do coffee shops have their air conditioning on when it's 3˚c outside?
I am sitting in Starbucks, cuddling my Grande-Earl-Grey-with-one-teabag-and-room-for-milk, wrapped in my coat and scarf, wishing I had a pair of fingerless gloves. This is ridiculous. I am going to have to get my tea to go, and teck mesell outside for a warm (sorry Americans - can you tell what I'm saying when I talk in a little Lancashire?!).
Is the AC on in here to make us want to buy more coffee to keep warm? Because it doesn't work - it just makes us want to leave. Sort it out Starbucks.
I am now going to go to the library to prepare the hub for Day 2. I have no idea what to hub about, I'll just see what happens when I start writing.