In the United States, many cannot remember that Sunday “blue laws” — whereby retail businesses were not allowed to open — were the rule rather than the exception. Today, in most communities, a large number of stores are open seven days a week and have long hours to accommodate shoppers.
But, this change is not in effect in a number of countries around the world; and they continue to have blue laws. One good illustration of this is France, where the continued use of blue laws is now under discussion.
As Carol Matlack reports for Businessweek:
“On a sunny October Sunday, cashiers at the Leroy Merlin home-improvement store in the Paris suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine are ringing up caulk guns, kitchen faucets, paintbrushes, drywall, and other do-it-yourself essentials. They’re also breaking the law. Most French stores are forbidden to open on Sundays and must close no later than 9 p.m. on weekdays. Social reformers enacted the restrictions in 1906 to guarantee that workers could relax and see their families. More than a century later, with joblessness at 11 percent and many people seeking flexible work schedules, workers are fighting back—not only against the law but also against labor unions pressing for tougher enforcement by authorities who often let violators go unpunished.”
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