The Hunting of the Snark


Letter to Asda – opening hours

Filed under: Snarky — Jeremy Irish @ 07:00
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Bishop Auckland

Attn: Customer Services

Dear sir or madam

I am having difficulty learning the opening hours of your Bishop Auckland location.

There is no question that the shop closes sometime on Sunday evening, and then on Monday morning it does not open until sometime after 7:30—that’s when I tried to buy milk one time. (I am surprised that Asda apparently does not start the week any earlier than the Morrisons across the street, which opens at 8:00.)

At any rate, the only information posted is the signs that say, in white writing on red circles six feet in diameter, ’24 hours’.

As that notation is obviously incomplete, I would be grateful if you could forward me a full schedule for this branch to the address above.

Yours faithfully

Jeremy Irish



Does everyone really have to stick with 9-5?

Filed under: Snarky — Jeremy Irish @ 07:00
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Half of Bishop Auckland’s businesses shut down no later than 5:00. The other half don’t really get going until, say, 8:00—there are about as many gambling parlours as bakeries, with roughly the same number of pubs. (Charity shops are up there, too.)

What always gets to me is: If everyone works a 9-5 shift, and the smaller shops are only open in that same window, who exactly is supposed to shop there? There’s a disconnect. It doesn’t seem to work in the modern world.

It’s no wonder the bigger companies survive better; prices aren’t the whole story.

Mom and Pop need to work out some sort of time-share arrangement. Clothing store attendants go do their banking after work, and then the teller joins them for dinner at a quaint restaurant, whose waitress bought a new pair of shoes that morning. That kind of thing.

Of course, in some places, I know that there are external forces that render common sense impossible. In Northern Ireland, when we lived there, a retail business was restricted on Sundays to opening between 1:00 and 6:00, if the floor area exceeded a certain square footage (square metrage?). So their ‘wee’ competitors had a potential advantage, but it didn’t get exercised very often.

Call me crazy, but I think moving away from this lockstep tendency would also improve traffic.

– The Snark


The End of Bridge, Part 2

The bridge replacement has been a tremendous source of free entertainment in this area. So, great news: it looks as though there’s no way on earth they can finish on time! (Also a great surprise.)

Now and then, there have been throngs of people gawking, snapping photos, even taking video. And to some extent I can understand their interest. It’s not every day that you see a 15-metre crane hoist the entire steel siding off of a bridge at once. And it is on other rare days, again, that you see one crane lashed to another whose evident purpose is to act as an unimaginably heavy counterweight.

Sorry, don’t have a camera phone, so I missed those. But I thought I’d better get a small piece of the action and borrowed my wife’s non-phone camera yesterday.

Cockton Hill Railway Bridge construction, very busy and heavily-signposted site entrance

Don't think they're open for business yet

5 weeks, eh? That would make it… this weekend that they have to wrap it up. What do you reckon?

Cockton Hill Railway Bridge construction, still a long way from being paved

Looks safe to me

Meanwhile, until they take them away, those orange and white plastic barriers with the hole on top make handy recycling bins:

Cockton Hill Railway Bridge construction, beer cans in a barrier

Better than the gutter

One other thing. Since the construction company will presumably have to pay a penalty based on how late they run, does that mean my council tax bill will be lower?

– The Snark

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