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“Shoppingless” Sundays in Finland

March 7, 2006
Sunday shopping has been a reality for years in many countries such as Canada and the United States, but in Finland we are still lagging "behind". (If you want to call it that.)
 
Currently in Finland, shops are allowed to be open on Sundays from May to the end of August and again during the Christmas season for five weeks leading up to Christmas. The exception to this rule is grocery stores that are 400 sq. m or less, which can be open on Sundays from noon to 21.00. Another exception is when a national holiday falls on a Saturday (All Saint’s Day in November for example), then the stores are open for business on Sunday.
 
A recent decision by the Finnish government put a damper on the hope that shops might be open on Sundays more than currently permitted under law: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Government+decides+against+further+liberation+of+store+opening+hours/1135218988516. This decision left some in the retail industry unhappy: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Current+consumer+goods+trade+disappointed+in+shopping+hours+decision/1135219005395.
 
In a country such as Finland, where the good times have been rolling since the late 1990’s, I think the lack of Sunday shopping hinders the economy. Thousands of Finns are building their own homes and summer cottages and are left to fend without raw materials and tools on Sundays when they might need to go and buy them. In other words it hampers progress on many levels. Finns have become avid shoppers (and window shoppers too). Saturdays in the capital area mean that the roads are filled with cars full of families shopping for news cars, furniture and plenty of other big ticket items.
 
On the other hand it is nice that materialism is not encouraged seven days a week here in Finland. It also means that entrepreneurs are not forced to open their doors seven days a week in order to remain competitive… Yet again there are plenty of Finnish students who are willing to fill the shoes of those staffers who do not want to work Sundays. Every little bit of money helps.
 
As a student I worked in the retail business one summer to make extra cash for school; and I often worked on Sundays in addition to working the "morning crew" during the week. While I made a lot of money and I always got called in to work on Sundays, it didn’t leave much time for relaxing. It was always morning crew at the store, day job, back to the store and sometimes straight to play baseball…
 
Oh those were the days, student life was so easy! Work, play baseball, go biking, play baseball, work, go biking, work, play baseball…
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