Posting on 14.11 we asked “how many shopping days left before you-know-what?” Yesterday Parliament changed the rules as YLE reports. Starting from December, Finland will have all-week-openings now, including Sundays.
Apparently the vote divided all the parties. So being able to shop on Sundays is something that appeals to people of all classes, regions and political parties. Anecdotally speaking, parents of small children and teenagers like the idea of Sunday shopping. Those Sunday-workers, ministers and church wardens, are oddly opposed on the whole. Many are sad to lose the punctuation that a non-working and non-shopping day once a week gives to their humdrum existence. And independent shopkeepers are, not surprisingly, gutted, although they have managed to secure “rights” for owners of small outlets to remain closed on at least one day a week. Not for them the economies of scale that makes the cost of keeping a shop open worth it for the bottom line. Compare and contrast with the supposedly much-maligned large and mega-large retail units (e.g. Jumbo) whose representatives claim this will create a few hundred much needed jobs through the country.
Some numbers again, from the independent shops’ website. Since 1990 the number of small convenience/food shops has dropped from 5000 to about 2300. During the same period the number of hypermarkets has gone from 50 to 106. Sales in small shops (there is some official designation of what that is) have dropped from 41 to 24%.
It all matters for the town-scape though. What does a shop like this (below) do for a city? And what does it cost, and to whom, to run such shops and keep them open on Sunday?
And what do the newly so “popular” hypermarkets pictured below do for a city? For its economies? For the biosphere? Or, for that matter, for people who might like to run a shop but know they’d never be able to “compete” with this lot?
We are not neutral on this point.