3M: Remembering the Blue Laws, German style

Sundays in Germany means that businesses are closed.  Several times a year, they are allowed to open on Sundays, and most of those Sundays are before Christmas.

Today, October 23, happened to be one of those days when businesses were allowed to be opened.  I decided to go to IKEA, on the edge of town, but just one tram ride away from my hotel.  The businesses are not allowed to open before 1 p.m. and must close at 6 p.m., so I timed my journey in order to get there right as they opened.

I arrived and there were people already in the store and there were numerous cars in the parking lot.  When I came out about 40 minutes later, the lot was full.  So, Germans like to shop on Sundays too!

I planned my trip so that I could go to a shopping mall where a large supermarket was located.  In many malls in Europe there are large supermarkets.  It’s kind of nice, America should try it out!

Any way, I arrived at the mall and it was packed!  The supermarket was full as well and long lines at the checkout.  Again, proof positive that the Germans like to shop on Sundays.

I had a discussion with some people about this law and they told me the church still has control of the government to the extent that they won’t change the laws. What’s important to note is that the churches have little influence upon the culture here and many if not most of them are empty on Sundays!

I remember growing up in the 70’s.  Everything was closed in Texas as well.  We had blue laws regulating that a business had to be closed on Sundays.  I seem to recall that when malls became popular, they wouldn’t open until 1 p.m. on Sundays and close around 6.  Today they open as they please and we know most WalMarts are open 24/7.

That is probably why WalMart and other big box stores like them never got a foothold in the German market.  Even though they do have large retail chains here, most of the mom and pop store exists as well.

At 4:45 p.m. today I had a reservation to visit the German government building.  Today is a Sunday!  I couldn’t believe that a business doesn’t have an option about whether to open or not on a Sunday in Germany, but the German government will give tours!  With the current economic crisis throughout the EU, I think a few more stores would be making a loud noise about being open on Sundays.

Just my thoughts….