Zurich should allow Sunday shopping: That was the argument of the city’s tourism director Martin Sturzenegger in a recent interview with Swiss media.
Stating his case, the tourism boss said Sunday shopping would make the city more appealing to international visitors while also giving Zurich retailers a much-needed shot in the arm.
But Facebook comments made by readers of The Local shows opinion is divided on whether Sunday shopping in Zurich is a good thing.
In fact, many readers came out strongly against the idea – including people who come from places where 24/7 shopping is a reality.
Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse in winter. File photo: AFP
“I think it is great to have less shopping on Sundays. It's nice to have one day a week which is calmer and on which shopping is not a priority,” wrote Tet Speirs.
She noted the lack of commerce gave people the opportunity to do other things and that this tradition “also respects “the time, family time, and leisure time of those who would be staffing the shops on Sundays”.
Malou Almirol Castillo was in complete agreement. “Sundays with no shops open is one of the things I love in Europe,” she wrote. “Coming from a mall culture where all shops are open seven days a week and sometimes even 24 hours is just too stressful for me.
“Let us keep it this way! Less commercialism! More quality of life!,” she added.
Meanwhile, Neil Herbert argued that Sunday shopping was really only about the interests of retailers.
“No weekend shopping,” he wrote. “North America pushed this and now companies pay workers less not more. They have larger profits but the workers get less.”
Neil also pointed out that people who really want to shop on Sunday can go online. “There are places open at the airport and main stations that's enough,” he said.
But Daniel Souza was one of the many other readers who called for Zurich to move into the 21st century by introducing Sunday shopping.
“If there is a demand, there is business! Sunday looks dead with businesses closed – it's stupid!” he wrote.
Daniel also stressed what he believed would be one of the key benefits of having stores open on Sunday: Jobs would be created – “something that many job seekers would welcome”.
However, for Zurich-based teacher Sarah Jackson, there is room for a middle ground on the question of Sunday shopping.
Sarah said that after working during the week and then having Saturday as a chores day, she would “really like the idea of having Sunday – at least from time to time – to stroll about and actually look inside some shops”, especially “during Zurich’s many many days of dreary cold weather”.
She stressed she wasn’t in favour of people working seven days a week but noted Sunday opening hours did not mean this would be the case.
“It doesn’t have to mean that every shop is open every Sunday,” Sarah wrote. “Maybe it could just be stores along the [popular downtown areas of] Bahnhofstrasse and around Bellevue?”
In comments to The Local, Sarah also noted that with many restaurants operating, and cinemas open, shops should be allowed to open their doors if they want to.
“Given that earlier this year, Switzerland was named top in Europe for underemployment, and given the influx of new immigrants and their need for jobs, I'm sure that at least some stores would be able to find willing staff to work a Sunday–Thursday week, while others work a Tuesday–Saturday week,” she wrote.
Sarah concluded that Zurich should at least experiment with Sunday shopping, perhaps on a monthly basis.
“[Maybe we should] at least keep discussing it so that it goes to referendum?” she asked.