Thursday, October 10, 2013

Swiss Shopping Hours 2013

In the early days of living in Switzerland, and we mean some years ago now Marcus was often to be seen /caught out/ visiting the Post Office at lunchtime.

As you can see, between the hours of 11.00 - 15.00 it is closed!

The Post Office is an extreme example of restrictions that most non Swiss find frustrating during every day life in Switzerland.

And when it comes to Sunday or late night opening we only have the Petrol Station /supermarket/ to fall back on.

Recently then I was excited to hear about a potential relaxation of the law, and thought it could be towards more complete Sunday opening.


It's simply a rationalisation on what the Petrol Station stores can sell.  The /relaxation/ was to enable them to sell all their items, at all times.

Wow,  (not)

Even so this was strongly opposed by Swiss unions and Religious bodies  who felt it could be the slippery slope to Sunday Opening for other stores.

So What is the Status Quo for us?

  • We have grown accustomed to restrictive Swiss Opening Hours.
  • It means NO Sunday opening of any sort for any store except the limited, tiny, Petrol or Railway station supermarket
  • It means 19.00 closure for all regular Supermarkets (Coop is open to 21.00 on 1 day in the week!)
  • Compared to England these restrictions pretty much match the position of the UK in about 1980, more than 30 years ago
  • For us it means that we really only use Swiss shops for food shopping, and we have to plan our visits carefully
  • For everything else, from batteries, to Computers, to Vitamins, to Sport Clothes, to Cars,  it is imported, shipped and normally posted.

So, what really hurts us?   Yes, it is Marcus rolling up at the Post Office to pickup a parcel, only to find he's forgotten [again] about their opening hours.  Doh!

Swiss 24 hours shops
Meanwhile in the UK