Why are all the shops closed in Poland on Sunday?

Those who save their weekly shopping for Sunday were in for a rude shock today when they realized that almost all the shops in Poland are closed.

It’s the result of a new law signed at the beginning of this year which limits shop openings to the first and last Sunday of the month. By 2020, even these are planned to be phased out so that every Sunday is a shopping-free day.

Supporters of the ban say that it will benefit workers and their families. Some have religious reasons for opposing Sunday labor as well.

Critics say that the new rule limits consumer and company choice, depresses the economy, may unfairly harm students who can only work on weekends, and contains loopholes which make the law easy to evade. (For example, an exception has been made for “fishery and agriculture products,” which has some businesses arguing that any shop which sells fish oil tablets should be technically allowed to remain open.)

Other exceptions which may be more helpful to the casual reader include petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices, animal hospitals, and commercial outlets at transport centers like airports and train stations. (That means you can probably find at least some open shops beneath Galeria Krakowska at the Main Rail Station.)

Some businesses, especially grocery stores, reported an uptick in sales yesterday as shoppers rushed to stock up in expectation of the first Sunday closure. Some analysts also predict that this could lead to a boost for e-commerce.

For future planning, here are all the Sundays this year on which the trade ban will be in effect, plus other national holidays and a special December schedule structured around the Christmas season:

Polish nationwide shop closures 2018 (with Sunday trade bans and holidays included)
Polish nationwide shop closures 2018 (with Sunday trade bans and holidays included)

Need something to fill the void in your heart left by the absence of consumerism? Enjoy this clever Polish comic by a cartoonist who goes by “melon.” (The humor comes from the fact that the Polish word “szop,” which sounds like English “shop,” actually translates to “raccoon.”)

("Mommy, mommy, why have you locked me up?" asked the raccoon)
(“Mommy, mommy, why have you locked me up?” asked the raccoon) (source)

10 thoughts on “Why are all the shops closed in Poland on Sunday?

  • March 12, 2018 at 3:35 am
    Permalink

    I remember when the stores in California closed at six p.m. on Saturdays. It wasn’t the end of the world. Now they are open late every day and it hasn’t improved the quality of life.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2018 at 8:06 am
    Permalink

    it’s not about consumerism, it’s about the free market. if the goal was to protect the worker’s rights, the government could have applied different and more effective policies, rather than a ban on trade.

    Reply
  • March 23, 2018 at 1:04 am
    Permalink

    But what happens with all those 24-h “Alkohole” shops? Will they be forced to close too? And what about bars and restaurants? Especially in tourist areas?

    Reply
  • March 23, 2018 at 1:15 am
    Permalink

    When I lived in Brazil in the 80s and 90s, most shops were closed on Sunday, except maybe for small grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services. That changed around 1998, when commercial establishments began pushing for Sunday openings. Interestingly, when I was in Krakow for the first time in 2014, most shops were closed on Sunday (I needed to buy an adapter and couldn’t find an open place. I guess that changed and now they’re changing back

    Reply
  • March 25, 2018 at 7:08 pm
    Permalink

    I think this a brilliant idea, sundays should be a family day, it is also the sabbath day for christians and a guaranteed day off for people who have worked all week. Is life all about money? Well done Poland, totally agree with this, we should do it in Britain.

    Reply
  • April 2, 2018 at 11:15 am
    Permalink

    We now have 24 hour stores for people to do shopping when ever they want to shop, so i agree with sunday closeing as like a lot of people its the only day we get time to spend with family and freinds, and relax.

    Reply
  • April 6, 2018 at 5:59 pm
    Permalink

    What about people who rely on working Sundays to pay their bills? People who’ve now been forced to lose two days of work per month? Saying ‘its not all about money’ is fine when you’ve got enough to get by. If you needed to work Sundays simply to get by, you’d think very differently.

    Reply
  • June 26, 2018 at 7:49 am
    Permalink

    Nothing special. Go to e.g. Germany, Austria or Norway and on Sunday you can also do “shopping” only at petrol stations.
    Change your life from the Work-Spend-F…-Sleep Mode. Find to time think and talk to you familiy about sth more advanced.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2018 at 10:28 am
    Permalink

    This is the most helpful post online about the Sunday closings, thanks! I come back to this article (and that graphic) each weekend to see what’s happening :)

    Reply
  • August 26, 2018 at 4:45 pm
    Permalink

    we should go back to some form of statalsim/communism … if we let the big corp keep going there will be only 1 for each market and they will not care at all of people but only about profita
    #wakeup

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *