Friday, July 17, 2009

Viva La Sunday

Never mind that racy ads and daily wine-drinking are the norm in France. The majority of the notoriously uninhibited French population says that Sunday shopping would erode the ‘French way of life.’

The Sunday shopping ban, in place in France since 1906, has been the topic of much debate of late. The National Assembly voted on July 14 to relax the ban and allow French cities to create special retail zones for Sunday shopping.

It would mean some big changes for the small country. Employees would have to be paid double-time to work on Sundays -- and they are free to refuse to work if they choose.

If the statistics are right, a bunch of retail employees may continue to keep their Sundays free. One opinion poll found that 55% oppose lifting the ban; 57% said they would refuse to work on Sunday.

A whopping 85% said Sunday should remain a day off.

Remember when our own country operated under a similar code? In my hometown, during the 1960’s and ‘70s, no store was open on Sunday, except perhaps the local grocer or convenience store. And Blue Laws prohibited alcohol sales on Sunday.

Despite heavy opposition, the French shopping ban is expected to win Senate approval next week and be adopted later in July.

Perhaps as we continue to send our associates to the unemployment line, we could direct them overseas. I hear there may be plenty of Sunday jobs available, and the pay is great.

-- Katherine Field

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