Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum

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Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

WARSAW, Poland — A law banning shops from opening on national holidays took effect in Poland on Friday to allow thousands of supermarket employees to spend more time with their families.

The ban on 12 public holidays was voted in by parliament before national elections when it was dominated by the socially-conservative Law and Justice party and its allies.

All shops and trade outlets must remain shut on Christmas days, other religious holidays and key dates in national history like Independence Day.

The ban was the idea of the outgoing pro-family government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Many supermarkets had not closed for holidays.

Trade outside of the shuttered shops, by temporarily hired employees, is allowed.

The pro-business Civic Platform party that ousted Kaczynski's government in elections Sunday and is holding coalition talks has warned it would try to lift the ban.

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

It's funny but I remember a time when this was the case in the Uk. You'd go out on a Sunday and the high street would be like a ghost town. I think it was during Thatcher's reign that changed. I'm sure a lot of countries still have limited shopping at weekends and during holidays. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to be able to go shopping whenever, but I'm not sure if it has improved quality of life. Just made people feel that they can't pause for breath.

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

What I really don't understand is opening hours on a Saturday in Poland.

Most of the local/independent 'hight street' shops in our city close at 2pm on a Saturday. Only the shops in the out of town malls stay open longer. With more any more shopping centres being opened, I really think the local businesses must change their practice or go out of business. Even the video shop on our street closes at 4pm on a Saturday!

Surely most people who have money work full time, and because of that only really have Saturdays to go shopping?

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

Because everyone knows town centre shops shut at 2pm, they make sure they get out there early!
That way, harrassed housewives have a golden excuse to take Saturday afternoon off, and Sunday too. Just the cooking, baking, cleaning ... (am I trying to wind wimmin up or what?)

Money-wise, it's worth it for some things.

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

It's worse in the Czech republic. Some big cities are like ghost towns on saturday.

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

The saturday shopping hours are an old tradition. I don't know whether working hours in Poland have now changed to be more in line with Western Europe and the states etc. They used to start work at 8am and finish at something like three pm and then have a meal with their family.

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

Working hours in Poland are extremely long - gone are the good ol' days.

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

"Working hours in Poland are extremely long - gone are the good ol' days. "

Some people work extremely long hours here - me included. And people here complain bitterly if they're forced by their company to have a lunchbreak - most would rather get home earlier instead. I'm seen as a bit unusual in always taking one.

Though the early finish isn't entirely dead. The Warsaw rush-hour seems to start about 2.30 some days, often earlier on Friday and factories in parts of the countryside (& offices too) find that a lot of staff just disappear during the harvest.

The shop-closures suck though. Not everybody observes the grave-visiting (and unless you have an extended family spread around different towns it doesn't neccessarily take very long anyway) and people paid by the hour low-paid jobs would usually rather go to work.

The crowds of people lining up to buy food at the local petrol station near my flat is testimony to the fact that there's a demand for shops, even on a religious holiday. Stopping this daft and restrictive law is the first thing Tusk should do.

Re: Shops to Close on Poland's Holidays

November 1st 15:30
Location: Solec n/Wisłą, cemetery no. 2, just left by car.
Son, aged 13, asked, "Do we have any more graves to visit?" (slightly desperate tone)
Answer (from mother) "It's a tradition ... (explanation and plea to patience and forebearing lasts several minutes).
Son: (even more desperate tone) "It's just I want to do a wee!"
It's already become a family classic. Perfect timing and delivery.