As I walked around Paris and reflected on the ‘consumer’ experience in the UK, I came upon an economic stimulus idea for the European Union. I like to call it ‘The 21st Century European Retailing Stimulus Package’.

In what many would consider a radical move for Europe, my program calls for:

  • Shops opening in the evening during the week. That means no more closing the shops down at 5 pm. (or 4 pm. depending on your location). That means that on a Friday night, you would actually be able to go to the book store or buy a coffee in the evening. I remember this summer walking in Edinburgh on a Thursday night at 7:30p.m. with the streets packed and not a single store open (not even a pharmacy – which is what I needed).
  • Shops open on the weekends (many don’t).

This will lead to:

  • More jobs (more retail hours = more jobs).
  • Increased customer satisfaction (With the radical idea of retail hours being tailored to the customer’s availability). Although, this depends on whether or not the 16 year old sitting on their butt behind the till at the Waitrose watching me pack my own groceries is also taught to get off his/her butt and help me.
  • My ability to enter a retailer during the week and avoid the weekend rush.

Now, I know that many will be offended by this idea. What about the worker? Why do we need to be more materialistic? We don’t want to be like North America? Hold on a minute, they will say, you must remember that bad customer service is part of the European culture –

Or as a Brit said to me at a New Years eve party ‘I quite like the shops in Windsor’ (Note: I agree – it is just that they are open for such a short period every day!).

I built a diagram to describe it for Parliament ….

                 Let the debate begin.


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