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Customers want their Sunday shopping

04 November 2013 / 14:11:31  GRReporter
3245 reads

The Greek retailers consider as positive the pilot opening of their shops on Sunday. Yesterday was the first of the 7 Sundays a year when, under the new law, shops across the country will be able to open.

Thousands of Greeks visited the shopping malls and the commercial streets, and the individual shops in their neighbourhoods, and many of them were not just window-shopping. The first Sunday in which shops were open was part of the interim period of autumn sales and a large number of the customers considered the prices as actually very good. The traffic in central Athens avenues was busy until late at night, the owners of cafes and restaurants located near shopping areas profiting the most from the measure.

A large number of "commentators" "reported live" on the social networks. According to them, the attendance of the shops was satisfactory, which is evident from the words of shop owners too, "It's not like Saturdays but there are quite a few customers."

The association of retailers in Athens defined the customer response as "impressive". Its chairman Panais Karelas added that the results would be completely clear after accounting for the revenue of the cash desks. He stressed that if the shop owners want the measure to work, they must comply with their obligations to employees and pay them additional compensation and allow them to use a day off as compensation for working on Sunday.

The opening of the shops yesterday provoked negative responses which, in practice, expressed the contrasting positions of the government and the opposition on the issue. The employees in the shops in Athens who oppose working on Sunday held a 24-hour strike and organized a protest procession in central Athens with the main slogan "Never on Sundays." The response of the trade union bodies of commercial companies such as the national confederation of Greek retailers was weaker. Its chairman Vassilis Korkidis said, "There are many people in the shops but few of them are buying anything."

According to him, 33% of shops throughout Greece opened yesterday and 50% of those in Attica. According to Korkidis, the shopping was successful in the regions of Athens, Thessaloniki and the Athens suburb of Glyfada.

He once again opposed the validation of the measure which provides for a 7-day working week for shops, expressing his agreement for it to be applied only to specific places, such as the centre of Athens and regions with a significant inflow of tourists.

The main argument of the opponents of the opening of shops on Sundays is that it violates the labour rights of the employees and that it will lead to the disappearance of small and medium retail shops. The comments in support of these claims were quite violent. Those customers who are against the measure wrote that, in times of crisis, the Greeks have no money to shop at all. Others say it violates the right of the employees in the shops to spend a rest day with their families.

"The shops opened on Sundays to serve 1.5 million unemployed who fail to shop on weekdays."

"The eight thousand millionaires in Greece are happy that the shops will be open on Sundays," the opponents of the measure presented the leading style in the comments.

On the other side of the fence were the Greeks, who believe that the pilot opening of the shops could be the first step towards the liberalization of the economy which is full of restrictions and prohibitions. Of course, there were critical comments towards the civil servants and their proverbial "busy" hours.

"I am definitely against the opening of shops on Sundays. We can easily shop on weekdays, especially in the hours before noon," reads one of the satirical comments in a profile named "civil servant".

Three years after Greece’s unofficial bankruptcy and in the sixth consecutive year of recession, the motives of those opposing any attempt to liberalize the economy are more than clear. In all cases, the thousands of Greeks who followed the call of retailers and filled the shops on Sunday responded to this.



Tags: EconomyShopsWorking on SundaysProtestsTrade unionists
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