I've just had an extraordinary encounter.
I turned up to a mega-supermarket just after four o'clock. According to British Sunday Trading Legislation, all shops can be open for a maximum of six hours. Fair enough.
However, the doors were still wide open and I could customers milling around inside, whilst others were queuing. The security guard who was standing there (who didn't look too bright) refused me entry because it was after the allotted hour (he said that if he did, he would lose his job) I explained that I only needed to go in quickly to buy some recordable cd's and I would be out. He refused and was soon joined by another Einstein who informed me that the customers inside had to pay for their shopping and vacate the premises by 4.30
So let's get this straight. I am standing at the door, wanting to make purchases. People inside are at the tills waiting to pay. The doors are wide open and I'm being denied access. The Manageress came along and spouted the same line. I offered to let her get the items for me (we're talking two packets of CD-R's for Heaven's sake) whilst I waited at the door. She refused. She even told me to go to another shop to buy what I was looking for!
I could go on, but what's the point? Another heavy turned up to intimidate me (he didn't) and having stood my ground, I realised that I was dealing with a bunch of jobsworthy imbeciles. I wouldn't have had a problem if they had closed the doors, but to deny me access whilst other people are wandering around, not looking particularly fussed, really pissed me off (particularly as it had taken me over half-an-hour to get to the damn store).
Unfortunately, that's why British commerce will never match the level of the Americans. I guarantee you that had this happened over there, I would be have been let in and told to "hurry up". The British do not understand the concept of customer service. These people were more concerned to stick to the "line" than use their miniscule brains to think creatively. They would make crap teachers!
It is extraordinary that a potential customer has to have an argument with staff to go into the store to spend money.