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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The media is all up in arms about Sunday shopping. I don't find anything wrong with it. I worked until midnight many nights, including Sundays, while in school to pay my rent. I would have rather worked and paid my rent than not have paid my rent with limited hours :)

If someone does not want to shop on Sunday that is their choice, but please do not take away someone's ability to earn extra if they choose. How about going to dinner and a movie on a Sunday? Are the people who work in the resto or cinema not working to serve you? Do they not have families to be with as well (the 'family' argument comes up often in that people should spend time with their families on Sundays). Recently my bank (in Canada) started opening not only on Saturday, but Sunday as well. A bit of a surprise, but in the land of 24 hour grocery stores, pharmacies, gyms etc. it seemed almost normal. Not everyone works M - F daytime hours, and with 24 grocery stores it made it easy to pop by on my way home from my midnight shift and pick up some things for the next day. Easy peasy!

I also find that keeping Sunday as 'special' very biased towards Christianity as other religions have other days that are important to them, and atheists do not have religious days at all. :peep:
 

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Ummm; I think you'll find that Sunday isn't traditionally sacrosanct re shopping hours. For centuries, bakeries and some charcuteries opened on Sunday mornings, and Mondays were their days off. Depending upon the area, supermarkets also open on Sunday mornings at certain times of the year. Other stores - depending upon the demographics of their region may or may not also open. To a great extent their opening hours are driven by the needs and expectations of their clientele.

France is largely secular, and I, for one, don't believe it's religion restricting opening hours - our local Spar even opens on Christmas Day, for God's Sake!!!! There is, however, a great sense of "family" here, and traditionally, Sunday has been the day on which everyone gets together. Whether we like it or not, the working week IS Monday-Fri/Sat, and the school week is Mon-Fri/Sat (maybe with Wednesdays off), and even people who work in the service industries are entitled to time off with their family.

Coming from the UK, where shopping as good as 24/7 was only just happening (subject to closing at 4 on a Sunday afternoon, and licencing hours for the sale of alcohol), yes, it's frustrating when you feel you're in a state of mind to be able to tackle the shops, or when you run out of something just as you're making the meal of the year, and even more frustrating when you want to go to the bank or the Post Office, or CAF or Secu/CPAM or the Prefecture in the only time you have available, ie your lunch hour, only to find they also are having their lunch two hours. THAT I agree is annoying.

It's similarly annoying if you are a normal-business-hours working single parent that you have to find kiddy care for, at minimum, Wednesday afternoons, 'cos teachers need time-out. (apparently)

But that's the way it is. It's a good exercise in logistics to prepare for such things - they are regular, after all, and similarly a good exercise to prepare for winter where you might be snowed in for several weeks, or have frozen water pipes and all the associated sh** that goes with the cold weather. We KNOW it's going to happen; we prepare as best we can ....

... but don't blame it on The Church.

& I'm not proselytizing; I'm Pagan so have no axe to grind (apart from I think we witches should have free parking for our broomsticks :D)

h x
 

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Well, certainly you don't come to France with the hope of doing shopping 24x 7! Or even 12 - 14 during the week in many places.

When I came to France I was single and lived in the country. I bought a bicycle and explored the countryside in the same was as I did when I was aged 10. I was AMAZED that on Sundays at lunchtime and afternoons would pass houses with perhaps 6 cars parked outside and full scale family Sunday lunch in progress. I have been invited to some of these and frankly I find them tedious, and they completely take out the opportunity of doing something else on Sunday. But the French like their idea of "family" and it's important to them.

One of the things to remember is that if you make changes to "society", the law of unintended results comes into play, and you may not like the result. For instance if 24 * 7 shopping is so good in the UK (introduced 1990s?) why are there so many Brits living in France now?

DejW
 

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"If someone does not want to shop on Sunday that is their choice, but please do not take away someone's ability to earn extra if they choose"

This I'm afraid is only one side of the argument - the other side is that staff are often obliged to work even if they don't want to. This is particularly true for supermarkets - work your allocated hours or lose your job.
 

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When in Northern France I was very pleased to see that there was a law preventing Supermarkets opening on Sundays and giving the local bakers the opportunity to have a day when they could sell their bakery produce without fear of what they deem "unfair" competition.

Similarly here in Spain, almost all shops close on a Sunday and it is nice to be able to have a day free from the constant commercialism that is so prevalent in many other countries (such as UK and US)
 

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When I lived in Germany, everywhere was closed from Saturday midday 'til Monday morning, except the first Saturday of the month when shops were open in the afternoon as well. I don't know if that's still the case, but that WAS difficult to work with as everybody and their dog was trying to get everything done on a Saturday morning, and trying to get parked anywhere near any shops was a nightmare.

In comparison, France is much more laid back.
 
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When I lived in Germany, everywhere was closed from Saturday midday 'til Monday morning, except the first Saturday of the month when shops were open in the afternoon as well. I don't know if that's still the case, but that WAS difficult to work with as everybody and their dog was trying to get everything done on a Saturday morning, and trying to get parked anywhere near any shops was a nightmare.

In comparison, France is much more laid back.


Here in Haut Rhin, there are a couple of bakeries open Sunday mornings near us, a Spar 20 kms away and a few bits and bats 5kms away round Mulhouse but that's to be expected (population 100 000 approx.) Some restaurants here are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Over the border in Germany there are quite few bakeries (often with cafes attached) open all day Sunday but that's about it, restos and the odd garden centre apart.

I did hear that some stores were allowed so many Sunday openings a year; the Leroy Merlin in Merlimont (P de C) opened every Sunday, using (I was told) the quota from the other Leroys in the area. As nice as it is here in Haut Rhin, I wouldn't mind too much if my local Brico opened a few hours on a Sunday. If I find you need something after 7 p.m Saturday evening, that's me kna**ered for a week.

In P de C within 10 kms of our house we had an Intermarche and a Carrefour open on Sunday mornings in the Summer + 2 Shopis (later Carrefour Market) open all year round, also a Kandy used to open on Sundays from half two 'til seven, not sure they had much worth buying but it was usually busy when we passed. I agree with DejW, Sundays for lots of French wherever I've lived or visited in the last 20 years seem mainly for family get togethers over long lunches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"If someone does not want to shop on Sunday that is their choice, but please do not take away someone's ability to earn extra if they choose"

This I'm afraid is only one side of the argument - the other side is that staff are often obliged to work even if they don't want to. This is particularly true for supermarkets - work your allocated hours or lose your job.
I can see your point; however, I still believe that when you go to a resto, take a flight, a train, or see a show those people are forced to work on a Sunday as well.

I still stand by my love of convenience ;) Plus, as I mentioned the pharmacy I worked at was open until midnight every night and that actually allowed me to have a job. Without those extended hours I would not have had a job at all, which would have been the same for many of the othersI worked with. I lived in an expensive city and so as much as the people working with me, who had families, would have preferred to be at home with their partners and children, they had bills to pay. I didn't know anyone who supported a parter (with or without kids) on one salary except for the very wealthy. Better a job with crappy hours than unemployment IMHO.
 

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It seems to me to be a matter of what you get used to. Yeah, when I'm in the US (as I was just recently), it's lovely to have virtually everything open on Sundays - but even at that, many stores open later and don't stay open as long on Sundays.

In some ways, it's even nice to have one day where you can't go out and spend, spend spend. (Which, after being in the US for a couple of weeks, really does seem the "reason to live" for many of the folks living there.) And I actually like the fact that big trucks are banned from the motorways on Sundays and traffic is much reduced - so we can take the donkeys out in the relative calm.

As I understand it, shops selling food are not supposed to be shut for two days in a row (other than for announced vacations), which is why you get bakeries, butchers and some smaller grocery stores open on Sundays. And there is a pharmacie de garde where you can get urgent prescription items should the need arise.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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This must be the right forum!

Sunday closing to my mind is not bad customer service or an inconvenience. I know once a catholic always a catholic but i quite like the fact that sunday is just a little different.
 

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I also find it very strange to find almost everything closed on Sundays! I too go for convenience and I am used to shopping any day of the week. Even when they are open their hours are ridiculous. I live in a small village and most supermarkets close at 7:30 PM! Hardly a convenient time for anyone wanting to pick something up on the way home from work. Even in Toulouse the supermarkets close what I consider early. Back in the US supermarkets are open until 11 PM. And while it is true employees may be forced to work, once you meet your hours you cannot normally work extra, which to me means the need for more employees and more people working. There are different requirements depending on the type of work you get, restaurant workers know you will be working evenings, supermarkets and pharmacies in the US also know the hours vary. But it certainly provides a large pool of employment for a lot of people that would otherwise be unemployed. Guess it depends how much you really want to work. ;) But what is even more disconcerting are the restaurants! As it is they have very limited hours you can eat. I do not know how many times I have been turned away because it is 2 o'clock! I come from a big city and I am used to having restaurants open all day, some may close from 4-6 PM to change shifts, but they then reopen and are open until very late, say 2 am! Even in Toulouse restaurants (those that open on Sundays) will close early say between 10 and 11 PM. We have had a hard time finding restaurants open on Sundays let alone open late. Because of this practice France is very dead on Sundays, I have been in Spain and there is a life that you do not find in France on Sundays. People are out and about and for the most part you can eat much later the same at lunch and at dinner. I regularly go to a restaurant in the mountains close to Vielha at Puente de Montañana which is fabulous and you will regularly have people coming in close to 4 PM to have lunch! I guess it is a matter of what you are used to, but I do miss that life and activity on Sundays.
 

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Sorry, but IMHO I think things in France ARE consumer-driven - despite the many assertions to the contrary in here. France considers its consumers to be traditionally French (not these expats with hi-falutin' ideas who can't be a**ed to move themselves or think ahead in French timeframes), and DOES consider its demographic.

In tourist areas, for example, everything is open everywhere during the season. It doesn't make economic sense for them to be open outside the season. Opening hours vary according to prevailing climate and typical demand - places in the South, or Corsica, will take longer lunch "hours", for example, and/or open later or earlier than in the North. We all know that Paris is closed during August - and we accept that; every other area has its own "downtime" as well, and it seems we don't accept that.

We have all moved here for varying reasons; if the most we have to complain about is that you can't buy a light bulb at midnight, well, it's a small price (and saves electricity!)

h
 

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I also find it very strange to find almost everything closed on Sundays! I too go for convenience and I am used to shopping any day of the week. Even when they are open their hours are ridiculous. I live in a small village and most supermarkets close at 7:30 PM! Hardly a convenient time for anyone wanting to pick something up on the way home from work. Even in Toulouse the supermarkets close what I consider early. Back in the US supermarkets are open until 11 PM. And while it is true employees may be forced to work, once you meet your hours you cannot normally work extra, which to me means the need for more employees and more people working. There are different requirements depending on the type of work you get, restaurant workers know you will be working evenings, supermarkets and pharmacies in the US also know the hours vary. But it certainly provides a large pool of employment for a lot of people that would otherwise be unemployed. Guess it depends how much you really want to work. ;) But what is even more disconcerting are the restaurants! As it is they have very limited hours you can eat. I do not know how many times I have been turned away because it is 2 o'clock! I come from a big city and I am used to having restaurants open all day, some may close from 4-6 PM to change shifts, but they then reopen and are open until very late, say 2 am! Even in Toulouse restaurants (those that open on Sundays) will close early say between 10 and 11 PM. We have had a hard time finding restaurants open on Sundays let alone open late. Because of this practice France is very dead on Sundays, I have been in Spain and there is a life that you do not find in France on Sundays. People are out and about and for the most part you can eat much later the same at lunch and at dinner. I regularly go to a restaurant in the mountains close to Vielha at Puente de Montañana which is fabulous and you will regularly have people coming in close to 4 PM to have lunch! I guess it is a matter of what you are used to, but I do miss that life and activity on Sundays.
France and Spain are Catholic countries and still have some respect for their religion hence most places are closed on Sunday. They also work the hours and open their shops and restaurants at the hours that suit them. If you want a consumer society, open 24/7 like you have "back home" then I suggest you get back there, pronto!
 

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France and Spain are Catholic countries and still have some respect for their religion hence most places are closed on Sunday. They also work the hours and open their shops and restaurants at the hours that suit them. If you want a consumer society, open 24/7 like you have "back home" then I suggest you get back there, pronto!
Sorry, Baldi, don't agree about the religious aspect, or about the hours that suit them.

However, I do agree with the last sentiment.

h
 

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Sorry but I am entitled to my opinions, and yes I am very happy living here but can also voice my likes and dislikes and there are obviously more likes than dislikes since I am still here. But France is DEAD on Sundays, it has nothing to do with tourism or seasonal, it is just that way and I have done extensive travelling through Europe and most places are the same, restaurants have very limited hours in very touristy areas like Rome and others. Like I said there is plenty to like which is why I am still here but that does not preclude me from expressing my opinion :) What I expressed was a lot more than buying a lightbulb at midnight obviously, like buying groceries at 10 if you work late, or grabbing a meal late after leaving a movie. France to me is not consumer driven and that suits me just fine. I did not care for how consumer driven things are "back home". That said restaurants and supermarkets to me are not luxuries but necessities, maybe not as much a restaurant but if you are a tourist trying to find a meal you better adhere to very strict guidelines as to when you can do that or then again there is always MacDonalds!!!!
 

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Well, I think we're all entitled to an opinion, especially if it can be backed by evidential or anecdotal reference (from which I've refrained).

So, by the same token, we'll agree to disagree, shall we?

h
 

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Oddly enough, I recently saw an article regarding the mealtimes in Spain which was asserting that Spain should adjust their ideas of when to have their meals in order to become more "competitive" in the world economy.

Apparently, one of the reasons that the Spanish eat their meals so late is because of the time difference from the rest of Europe - at least in the Franco era. (Didn't understand that one at all.) Anyhow, because the dinner hour doesn't start until 10 pm, work has to start later the next morning - and there is (or was) the tradition of the siesta after lunch to contend with. The author of the article claimed that, if the Spaniards would eat earlier and give up their siestas, they would be more productive and not have their current financial difficulties.

So I guess you can't please everyone, no matter what you do.

One thing I will say for France is that we have many, many more small shops - usually family run - which accounts for the closing over "lunch time" so that they can stay open as late as 7:30 pm. When I was living in Germany, shops had to close at 4:30 or so and could only be open until 2 pm on Saturdays. That has, I understand, been changed. But just because the State winds up allowing longer hours doesn't mean that the smaller shops will change their schedules.

There is a movement right now for at least the large stores to be able to be open on Sundays here. And the employees who are behind this movement are the ones who appreciate being paid time and a half or double time for working the "unsociable" hours.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I agree with Bev, and I do see a lot of the restaurants and other businesses here are of a much smaller scale and usually have one poor employee or just a few running around doing everything. It is certainly the case in most restaurants. It has to do with economics I guess. But like the article Bev mentioned, in part this small scale and closing over lunch, earlier in the evenings and Sundays does affect the work force. I am sure there are plenty of people willing to work evenings, during lunch hours or weekends. It would certainly help with the economic crisis, and who knows the businesses may actually make more money! I do agree that you can't please everyone, no matter what.
 

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Well, as I was (refraining from) saying, supermarkets, even here in La France Profonde, but also in Corsica, do open on Sundays during the season. And it was about 5 or 6 years ago, I think, that Carrefour and Aldi started staying open through lunch-time; 8-a-8, of course, have always worked through and also open Sundays all year round, and I think our Spar is also open on Sundays.

'k, the little family-run places don't open 24/7 - how could they? But most Boulangeries, Charcuteries and Cremeries are open Sunday mornings (closed Mondays, mostly). Non-food outlets don't open Sundays - except the Pharmacie de Garde, on rotation within the town. Yeah, I know we Anglophones have a habit of irreligiously doing the DIY or garden on Sundays, but the French don't - and we live in France. Problem ?

I can understand that longer opening hours would, in theory, mean greater employment - but, actually, would they? I mean, there's a certain and limited market for consumer goods, particularly in an area like here; but would shopowners prefer we all shop at "reasonable" hours or spread our shopping over many hours, whereby they'd have to employ extra staff (& heating/lighting, etc.) but not increase their revenue? It doesn't add up.

h
 
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I knew hils would chime back in with her "opinion". Obviously generalizing does not help, what you may be used to where you live does not apply to all of France. Your experience is certainly not mine and basically everything but maybe the boulangeries are closed where I am on Sundays. And they close very early. Boucheries, Charcuteries and Crremeries are all closed around here. You may be able to find a supermarket open a couple of hours sunday mornings but nowhere close to me. And I am not so sure about it not creating more revenue, there is a lot of impulse buying done all over the world and if there are no stores to satisfy the impulses how would you know if it would not create more revenue? There is one store open sundays where I live and that is GiFi and I can assure you it is always packed on Sundays, so are any of the restaurants that care to open on Sundays. And MacDonalds is ALWAYS packed, I hate MacDonalds and do not go there, but it goes to show the demand is there. Would that equate to all kinds of restaurants and businesses, I don't know. I just see the proof on the few businesses that care to cater to differing lifestyles and schedules.
 
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