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Enforced Sunday closing


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The Tribunal Administratif has just overridden the Prefet of the region who had allowed an immense shopping centre (somewhere between Aix and Marseilles) to open on Sundays. At the behest of the two major unions involved. The result of course will be significant job losses, mainly amongst casual and student staff who got paid double for the day,  and a major blow to the turnover of many shops who did loads of business on Sundays.  Are these people nuts?

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I have mixed feelings on this, very sorry to see people put out of work though, a pity it was not all settled in advance of the store opening.  I like the convenience of Sunday shopping, but one of the reasons I like France is its attitude to the family and the work-life balance.

Simon

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[quote user="Tag"]

............   and a major blow to the turnover of many shops who did loads of business on Sundays. 

[/quote]

I do not understand the "logic" in this. I do not buy more things, spend more money just because shops are open 7 days per week nor spend less because they are open for just 5 days. But perhaps I understand the difference between want and need.

When we first moved here we found lunchtime, Sunday and Monday closing inconvenient but have adapted because we had to - after all the French can do it . A degree of planning is necessary but is that a bad thing ?

John (an accountant in a past life so possibly looks at things differently)

not

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The employees need to be considered too. I was served by an assistant in the UK who was almost in tears because she was having to work Good Friday. When I said that I thought she had the option, she made it clear that she hadn't.

Hoddy

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I think Sunday is now the second busiest shopping day in the UK. 'Family' shopping trips seem to be the trend and with many of the bigger stores offering books, cds, dvds, clothes, toys, garden furniture, textiles, computer equipment general house wares with at least one big supermarket moving into the home appliance market, they become a convenient 'one stop shop'. John, I think people DO spend more because shopping is becoming a leisure activity.

I do my best to avoid Sunday shopping now - its too crowded!

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Having worked in retail for most of my life I know that you can't increase the public's disposable income but you can try to get a bigger slice of it. The result of this is that if A opens later B,C et al will follow suit. Large stores will also open Sundays for the same reason. There was some talk of making a law to prevent stores opening Christmas day and therby forcing people to work. I don't know the outcome.
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Maybe they'll start opening on Mondays and on Tuesday mornings now instead. The shops at plan de campagne may have been open on Sundays but they all closed (apart from the Géant)  all day Monday and didn't open until 11am at the earliest on Tuesday. (I'm talking from bitter experience- I tried buying a DVD recorder on a Tuesday morning)

Wierdly, most the employees were quite happy about working on Sundays but the unions decided that they needed defending.

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Tag when I was young and in the South Wales Valleys the pubs used to open in the mornings and very late at night to service the needs of miners steel and forge workers who just needed to get the dust out of their system.  Then of course there were the pubs that opened all day on market days to service the needs of the farmers who came into town once a week.

Thus a need which was accommodated but no longer is needed either due to there being no pits or that pubs can now open all day.  The later was a Government decision based upon in part the european experience!

I live full time in France and now quite like the difference in their less than commercial approach say to things like Christmas and where and back in the UK I was running around like a headless chicken and then paying off at the end of January my credit card bill.

In the UK save of course if Xmas falls on a Sunday the only day that major supermarkets are closed is of course Easter Sunday.  What are your views on this?  There are committed Christians out there that say this surely must be the Sunday of the year where everything closes down?  If they (the supermarkets) had their way everything over 3000 sq feet (is it) and with Tesco being the front-runner would be open.

What then about the needs of its employees?   What about the religeous beliefs of its employees?  The rights of its employees are well-watered down and if you think the Employment law (and here I speak as a lawyer) protects individuals then I am sorry you would need to think again.  Indeed I a student of employment law and with respect have some knowledge going back many years.

Everyone has needs and desires and for lots of people they wish to exercise their right to shop on Sundays and we should support their right so to do.

However how about the rights of employees who wish not to work on Sundays and thus exercise their rights?

No chance they would be out on their ear(s).  An employment profile of Tescos and related stores will throw up the simple fact that there are lots of female workers there and who come out to work to support their family needs.  They should be encouraged and without them the system will fall down.

However Tesco would have you believe that they employment are a caring organisation but when compared to John Lewis fall at the first hurdle.  Of course John Lewis is an exception but the partners share in the profits.  In Tesco who shares in the profit?  Of course shareholder value holds sway and all of the time.

That is the sole point of the exercise?

rdgs

 

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[quote user="Simon"].......the family and the work-life balance.

Simon

[/quote]

The last seven words of Simon's post sum up my feelings.

Having spent a lot of time in Chicago where almost everything is open each minute of every day and night, and now seeing this creeping in as a regular part of UK life, I currently prefer the French approach.

However, I am not living in France full-time and if I was, maybe I would feel different. And I have been caught out on the occasions I arrived on a Sunday, to find the only place I could buy bread, milk and petrol, was at an autoroute service area. "Why don't they open their shops and garages on Sundays?" I will undoubtedly have exclaimed!

But, there does seem to be a certain peace about Sundays in France - something I have not experienced in the UK for some time. Or is it just that I have a different mind-set when at my maison secondaire?

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I've clearly NOT adapted. I find it frustrating, for example, that if I get up in the morning and want to go shopping, I have to mess around all day until around 2:30 in order to be able to go out, do everything I want to do, and not have to worry that half the places I need to go will be closing within a short time of my arrival. In a second home, we don't have a huge stock of staple foods in the cupboard or freezer, so have to shop more often for smaller quantities of food, and it can be a nuisance knowing that on Sunday and generally Monday our food shopping is limited or non-existent. Funny, this applies to la France profonde, but not to big cities.....so the unions seem to have a slightly biased view. OK, Sunday opening is restricted everywhere, but In Paris you don't find everywhere shutting for lunch or on Mondays. I, too, have worked in retail.  From memory, when I did work unsocial hours or holidays, I got other days off in lieu, so it wasn't as if I was being made to work these hours on top of a normal Monday-Friday. France does seem pretty determined not to encourage anything which will provide additional employment............

As an aside, we drove past a small village shop not far from us in France. Nice, shiny new mini-supermarket, with a sign on the door indicating that it was open Tuesday morning, Thursday morning and Friday afternoon - for about 3 hours each time. It made me smile....clearly not a "convenience store".

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[quote user="Prasutagus"]

But, there does seem to be a certain peace about Sundays in France - something I have not experienced in the UK for some time. Or is it just that I have a different mind-set when at my maison secondaire?

[/quote]

Yes, you do.  After 7 years in France I don't even think of shopping on a Sunday, so I don't see the crowds that are undoubtedly there.  

French people go on family trips to the supermarket on a Saturday.   Saturday shopping in France is just as hideous as it is in England, with packed car parks, queues, crowded supermarkets, wailing children, stressed parents.........

On Sunday they all pile into the cinema.   If you want to watch the 2pm séance you have to join the queues well before the doors open at 1.30!

I think French supermarkets would be extremely busy on Sundays if they were open.   There's nothing mystical going on.    

 

 

 

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Our little local InterMarche is open on Sunday mornings for a couple of hours (not open again until 15.00 Monday) and is unfailingly busy.

I have no problem at all with shop closures if I know in advance but I am retired.  I do wonder how easy it is for people here who work full time.  I notice for instance that my neighbours opposite who both work, have frozen food delivered - not something I would ever need to do.  I assume that they would like to be able to shop on Sundays at the bigger supermarkets, given the choice?

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Well I don't shop on Sundays on principle, so Sunday closing in France isn't a problem for me, though it is obviously inconvenient for some. In fact I like it, as I miss the one different (and quieter) day a week we used to have here in Britain until relatively recently. However the supermarket in our nearest little market town, where we usually shop when staying at our maison secondaire, is open on Mondays as usual, so no problem stocking up on 6 days a week. Nowadays it's even open at lunchtime on Friday (market day) and Saturday. What more could one ask? [:)]

Kathy

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At first I found Sunday closing a real pain and hard to get by without. Then, in a moment of revelation, I thought, hang on, why do I want to go to shops and look at 'Things' and probably impulse buy a load of stuff when I could actually be doing something useful and enjoyable?  Since then I always find lots to do on a Sunday, from shooting (just targets, never live things) to just taking pleasent walks and loads of other things.  On my increasingly rare visits to the UK now, I never go shopping on Sundays.  I will admit to the odd pang of wanting to visit a garden centre though.
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As far as retail staff in the uk are concerned they have to opt in to work on Sundays and make themselves available thats a legal requirement of their contract, we run a convience store and post office in a lancashire village we have made it a thriving success (after 4 years) but only do it by being open when we are needed ( 6 am - 8pm 7 days) none of the staff work more than 5 days out of 7 and the local "youth" are glad of employment oportunities at on evenings and weekends when we bought the shop he opened office hours and made a loss, RH is correct Sunday is the second biggest shopping day now in the UK and I do think that large stores only being able to open 6 hours does help protect the staff. It's great being idealist about not shopping on unsocialble hours to help the workers but often college students and people who need second jobs for financial reasons only are available to work at those times, the reality of retail is that its very hard to find good staff in a lot of cities so in fact its often its the staff who call the shots when it comes to availability to work, but saying all that I love the limited hours in France and people eating at the same time etc etc who really needs everything available 24  / 7.
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[quote user="RumziGal"] [

I think French supermarkets would be extremely busy on Sundays if they were open.  [/quote]

I can vouch for that. We have been to the cinema at plan de campagne on Sundays several times (we go to the 11am film  and then go to a restaurant -very French) and the car parks around the shopping areas are usually heaving.

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One of the things I love about Sundays in France is that everything is closed. When Tescos illegally forced the issue in the UK and everyone started opening there was a huge difference on the roads on Sundays and it became like every other day. I would vote for any party that promised to cease Sunday trading. Give us back our family/rest/cycling/activity day please.
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[quote user="ianf"] Give us back our family/rest/cycling/activity day please.[/quote]

Just don't go shopping on a Sunday, ianf, it's really quite simple!  

Now, the big question.   There is clearly a huge demand in both countries for Sunday opening, but there's a different cultural expectation.   In Britain, people like to make their own decisions.   In France, people like the State to make decisions for them.

So...... who should decide whether shops should be open on Sunday?  

 

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Now that is interesting Ian because where we live it is really busy at the weekends - far busier than during the week. My favourite day of the week is Monday - now that day is really quiet round here, it's superb I love it.

Sue [:)]

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Rumzigal touches the heart of the matter I think. Who are the politicians to decide these things for people? If people wanna say cycle or whatever or go to football, great, but if they wanna shop, then let them too.
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[quote user="Tag"]Rumzigal touches the heart of the matter I think. Who are the politicians to decide these things for people? If people wanna say cycle or whatever or go to football, great, but if they wanna shop, then let them too.[/quote]

hear! hear!

This is the biggest nanny state Ever...

I like Sunday and 24 hour openings and I speak as someone who absolutely HATES shopping - unless it's in a Brocante...

Here,  I do supermarket shopping between 12-14 to avoid the crowds. No one is forced to shop on Sundays and if people want to keep it a family day, then let them. Whether shops open or not should not make a blinding difference. Manage your family, I say, and let the rest of us shop when we want. Yes, I'm the person who used to shop at 2am in my local Tesco's in London - didn't do anyone any harm - the workers were mainly filling shelves and would have been there in any case. The difference being that the shop was open.

The workers rights on this 'sacred' day argument is one I don't buy into. In my first managerial job yonks ago, it was in my contract that I could not take more than 2 weeks holiday at one time though I was entitled to 5 weeks. I signed knowing the terms and conditions. We live in 2007 and for those who prefer 1907, I suggest you get your tools and kits out and start building HG Wells little number so you can head back[6].

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Sorry LangueDocGal I absolutely disagree with you and the reference to 1907 is unhelpful and I mean unhelpful.

Before I saw the light I was a Police Officer before then deciding to go into corporate life and then law.  I had to get approval to get married when I was a police officer?  Of course when my father died I had to apply to have leave.  The answer no you can have a few hours for his funeral.  Why because I had three other brothers and they could sort things out.  I complained bitterly and told my Superintendent where to go.  When I came back to the station after the funeral I was given a knife and a fork and told to clean out the weeds in the pavement.

Please do not try to lecture your views are your views and I do not attack you for holding them.  Please do not attack me for saying that in this world of ours one day or one half day a week when everything is closed  is sanity.  As to shopping at 2am in London I am suprised that you took the chance.  Of course Waitrose was not open or was it?

Again please forgive me but your refer to 'workers' are they any different to you?  Or have you never worked under a contract of employment as against a contract for services.  As to the 'workers' they were mainly filling shelves and would have to be there anyway?  Are you a product of the Dickensian era.  Your dismissive approach to fellow human beings leaves me with a feeling of disgust.

You have a relationship with the law and I am truly surprised as to your approach.

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