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Sonntag, November 16, 2003
Stores open to help economy?
Well - this weekend came and with it came statements of some German politicians (more B-category, but anyway) about how long to open stores in Germany before Christmas.
Don't laugh, but in Germany we also have laws how long a store is allowed to stay open. In general the opening times are from 8. am til 8 pm and Sunday closed completely. This is valid for your average grocery store, supermarket, butcher or H&M or GAP store. After 8 pm there are just some special shops allowed to be open who are similar to pubs (legally) and sell also stuff you can get in a supermarket, or shops at gas-stations selling stuff you need for traveling. Well, I have no idea, for what I need the latest Playboy or a can with "Ravioli in timatoe souce" for traveling, but well, definitions might be different there.
But again - in general, stores have to be closed on Sundays.
One can discuss if this is a good thing or a bad thing, fact is - in Germany it's traditional (especially unions-traditions) handled that way.
There are good reasons for not changing it (working times for personnel - mostly women; problems for small family-run shops; profits just for the big centre and not in the suburbs...) and also for changing it asap (de-regulation; other countries still survive with opening times around the clock; more freedom for customers; more attractivity...), but the reasons, the politicians around Bruederle call, definitely don't belong to the serious sort.
Bruederle (FDP, what else?) states, that it would help the economy when all shops would have the possibility to open on Sundays before Christmas so that people can be sure to spend all the money they want for Christmas gifts.
He Bruederle, let me tell you some things:
We are no Brits. We don't spend such amounts just for gifts.
And one more - if you can also buy gifts on Sundays, there is just a little chance that people buy more. We don't have economy problems because people reject to consummate stuff, our crisis is because people can't afford more. They can afford really enough - as I use to say: people can't be poor as long books like the ones from Dieter Bohlen rank high of Bestseller lists.
People can't be poor as long Michael Moore can charge you more than 20,00 EURO for a ticket to his "performances" on a German stage. I'd have liked to see him, but sorry, 20 Euro? LOL
So, even not being a specialist in economic things I know pretty well that money won't get more when people have more possibilities to spend it. It just gets spent different. People will spend more money in huge city centres (like my hometown Cologne) and less in their small suburbs or smaller cities and villages (no - no word about Duesseldorf from me).
People who want to spend money on a Sunday also have many occasions, even in Germany. They can go and place bids on eBay; they can use all these internet-shops and Call-Centres with 24 hour hotline, so it's not that the German in general isn't used spending money on a Sunday.
So what should happen?
I don't have problems to erase laws about shop-openings. In that for example, Germany is pretty oldfashioned and not up to date with what the customer wants. But Germany also is a state where it should be that the employees are protected from too worse conditions in that.
But anyway - our economy won't get better from that.
When I go shopping in the Cologne "Hohe Strasse" or "Schildergasse", some of the most frequented shopping miles in Europe, I can't believe in Germany there is something like high unemployment rate or so. People squeeze through the street and the shops like fish in a can. Pure horror.
Maybe an open Sunday would help and have it sorted on one more day, so the other days would be less horrid? I seriously doubt it.