Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sunday - Day of Rest of Day of Shopping?

But not on Sundays

Germany's version of the Supreme Court - Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe decided today that Berlin should not allow shopping on Sundays during the advent season because it goes against the constitution. The church argues that Sundays should be a day of rest, God's day.

I am fascinated by this decision because I've had the experience of shops being closed on Sundays when I was in Germany. On one hand, it was pretty nice to enjoy a quiet day. The little pastry shop around the corner was open briefly on Sundays so that people could pick up fresh bread, but it closed around noon but overall, Sundays were relatively quiet in Frankfurt. However, because of this, Saturday evenings were all the more hectic since everyone tried to fit in last minute grocery shopping before the stores closed. I learned very quickly to avoid Saturday evening shopping at all costs. The court's decision in favor of the church is indicative of how traditional Germany is. Something like this would not survive in the US because American popular culture is focused on consumerism, commerce and making money.

Although I'm not a huge fan of shopping, I think people should have the option of choosing to shop or choosing to relax on Sundays. Let's assume for argument's sake that you forgot to buy some milk for a recipe you wanted to make on Sunday. Well, you'd have to scrap that plan because you can't buy milk on Sunday. Grocery stores are all shut.


Anonymous said...

Just a thought: If you need milk for a recipe, you should ask your neighbour and could get to know a new friend :)


frankfurtsanfrancisco said...

In some big cities, it's so anonymous that your neighbors will think you're weird for bothering them. "Why didn't you prepare ahead of time and buy your milk on Saturday or during the week?" they might think. It depends on your luck with neighbors. If they're nice they won't mind.