Any Given Sunday in France

French Stores Honor Sabbath, Except When They Don’t‘ is an interesting article in the New York Times today.  It explains some the quirks of Sunday opening in France. It is law that stores must be closed on Sunday, but there are many exceptions. Unions are fighting heavily for the protection of the sabbath, but on the other hand 75% of French people want to be able to shop on Sundays. Many businesses get exemptions (such as museums, pharamacists, and owner operated stores) but the whole system is devolving into irrationality as the restrictions get chipped away. It’s an interesting debate.  I empathize with some of the goals,

The crackdown against Vuitton and other businesses is largely a result of an aggressive campaign against clothing, shoe and handbag sellers by the National Clothing Federation… Its main goal is to protect small merchants, for whom opening on Sundays is a bother and a burden, from big competitors.

I hate those “huge malls that Americans adore” as if I were French myself. (Though there still is a special place in my heart for our upscale friend out on Big Beaver Road.)  The trouble is I think the forces at work are much stronger than Sunday hours can account for.  The price, convenience, and selection of larger stores draws people in any day.  For me a far more significant factor was the hours after work, I wouldn’t have nearly the same need to shop on Sundays (I would have to get up “early” and bike to the Champion in St. Genis on Sunday, where there always were huge lines just before the noon closing) if the stores would just stay open a little later on the weekdays (8:30pm was the absolute latest closing, which was barely enough for me and my late schedule).

1 Comment »

  1. Jeremy said,

    June 23, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

    BIG BEAVER!!!!! I’m totally going to miss Club Monaco’s reopening on July 13. What the hell?!

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