Sundays are still Special in the world of hi-fi

If you've watched or listened to the news today, you may be aware of the modest hoo-hah that's been going on in the Scottish Highlands, where ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has just run its first Sunday service from Stornoway, on the island of Lewis, to Ullapool on the mainland.

Campaigners have been singing psalms on the quayside, and women have been seen crying as they called for respect for the fourth Commandment and a return to the previous status quo in that part of the world, where shops and other services remain closed on Sundays.

The Keep Sunday Special people are less than entirely chuffed by the new ferry service, while CalMac says not to run the services could put it in danger of a claim of discrimination under the 2006 Equality Act.

I was listening to the news of this squabble while driving into our local county town to pick up my wife, who was having her hair done this morning.

Took a while, as the streets were thronged with traffic hunting for a parking space, and the pavements full of shoppers laden down with carrier bags. Clearly here, at least, people were eager to spend.

There are three hi-fi shops in the place: one long-established independent, one part of a franchise chain, and the third a branch of Richer Sounds.

Guess which two remained closed and shuttered on one of the week's prime shopping days?

And which one was open and seemed to have a steady flow of shoppers in and out while I sat in the car waiting for madame's 'do to be finished?

Next time I hear a hi-fi retailer complaining that 'footfall is down', and what few customers there are are being hoovered up by the discount stores and the internet, I might just find myself tempted to suggest that actually being open when feet are around to fall might be a smart idea.

Probably a bit more useful than sticking to the old idea of opening weekdays only, maybe even with half-day closing one day a week, and expecting customers to take time off work to have a browse or a demonstration. All a bit 1950s, isn't it?

Unless, of course, the shop staff were all in church, or had driven up to the Highlands to protest about the evils of Sunday ferries – in which case I'd defend to the hilt their right to their religious beliefs, and take it all back...

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.