29 March 2011

Boo hoo shopaholics

THERE are mixed emotions regarding major shopping centres closing over Easter on the Sunshine Coast this year. The four major shopping centres* will be closed Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day (Easter Monday).

There are a multitude of brilliant arguments supporting both sides of the debate. What if people want to work (what about those who don't)? Employees are paid double time to work public holidays so why wouldn't they want to work (not all staff get double time for public holidays and what about those who value time with family more than money to work)? Retailers still have bills to pay so let them open if they want to (well let them close if they want to also).

Who can't survive a mere three days without the shops being opened? Shopaholics (the same people who will cause an influx of "panic" style shopping at each shopping centre Easter Saturday). While the shopaholics whinge and moan, many locals and tourists alike just don't understand what all the fuss is about. After all, tourists don't come to the Sunshine Coast for shopping.

Comments on the Sunshine Coast Daily website and the Sunshine Coast Facebook page have highlighted the mixed opinions that abound. Perhaps the most unfounded was the question, "What will tourists do if it rains over the public holidays?" Really?

Are people that short-sighted and narrow-minded that in the rain their only forseeable leisure option is shopping (or movies)? Sunshine Coast Tourism's 50 Must Do's on the Sunshine Coast is a great place to start for the un-imaginative. Shopping up a storm still makes the list, and many of the activities wouldn't be ideal in the rain, but there are definitely things there that are worth a try for something different, rain, hail or shine. The list also highlights that (provided Mother Nature is kind) tourists come to the coast for all the natural beauty on offer (parks, beaches, rainforest).

Another argument is if the major shopping centres were open, the sales would help boost the local economy. True, but shopping at the big four* is not the only way to boost the economy. There are many retailers worth a browse/spend along, for example, King Street Buderim, Currie Street Nambour, and The Esplanade Coolum (just to name a few). And who doesn't enjoy a stroll through the streets and shops at Montville and Maleny? Or more obviously, what about all the amazing restaurants and cafes spread across the coast? Rain is a perfect excuse to sit back and gorge on delectable tasties.

Maybe we should just take a moment to remember what these holidays are for. Whether you are religious or not and whether you buy into the commercialisation of the Easter, holidays are for family. If you can't spend one (or three days) with your family without the distraction of shopping, maybe you need to explore why?

As for Anzac Day, we wouldn't be having this debate about whether to open the stores or not if it weren't for all the men who bravely fought for our freedoms. Shopping shouldn't even be on your agenda on Anzac Day. Your day should be Digger's Breakfast** then Dawn Service  then Gunfire Breakfast*** then few games of Two-Up. It would be un-Australian to do anything else.

*Sunshine Plaza, Noosa Civic, Stockland Caloundra and Kawana Shoppingworld
** Rum and milk
***Rum and black coffee

Do you think shopping centres should open all Easter and Anzac Day?

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