Yesterday was one of the coldest days in recent Wellington history, with a high of 4 degrees, and with wind-chill, it felt like minus four. Foolishly, instead of being home tucked up with the computer or a good book, a hot drink and the heater on full blast, I spent the entire day in town running to and from appointments. Not difficult appointments, I’ll admit. One, for example, was a massage I’d booked a month ago, though I was very grateful for the towels warmed on the radiators before my arrival. But I spent an inordinate amount of time walking up and down the freezing, windswept golden mile of Wellington’s CBD, popping in and out of various places of business (that’s another story that will come), grateful for the warmth.
But I was lucky I wasn’t on a miscellaneous shopping trip, because almost every retail store – all the shoe shops, the clothing stores, even Michael Hill Jewellers – had its doors wide open. I went into one store, and commented how cold it was. “Company policy,” said one store manager. “We’re not allowed to close the doors.” Company policy deems that closed doors are unfriendly to customers. I know that freezing temperatures would never encourage a customer to linger, let alone disrobe in a changing room to buy any of their goods. Company policy deems that closed doors are a barrier to customers with pushchairs. I think that any parent outside with a baby or toddler in a pushchair in such weather needs to be seen by social services. Company policy thinks that open doors in almost subzero temperatures is good for business. My view? Madness!