Up against the Channel clock

Up against the Channel clock

A LOUDSPEAKER announcement is made just prior to departure from the UK, saying that alcohol and tobacco will go on sale 30mins into the crossing. In the meantime, perfume and other goods are already available to buy.

The section of the shop devoted to alcohol and tobacco remains cordoned off from customers until the ferry reaches French waters.

The ship is full, with nearly 1,500 passengers on board, so there is a bit of a rush once the barriers are down.

It takes around 30 seconds for the first customer to reach the cash desk with a bottle of whiskey.

P&OSL used to close its shops during the 45min turnaround period in Calais, but now they stay open in order to maximise sales.

When the ship re-enters British waters, customers who are still in the cordoned off section are allowed to finish their purchases, so there are no major queues at the tills.

The P&OSL system appeared to work smoothly, although passengers clearly remain confused by the post duty-free regime.

A constant stream of passengers approached staff to ask about the changes.

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