Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Curious Opening Hours of Shops.

After almost 2 months in this country and several 'Bank Holidays' I am still confused by the fact that supermarkets stay open until really quite late, are open on Sundays and even 'Bank Holidays'.  Gone are the days when I'd realise that the weekend was to be preceded or followed by one or two 'Bank holidays', thus having to remember to buy enough food to cover the days when the shops would be shut.  Life has been simplified as supermarkets just don't seem to shut here and food can be bought on any day of the week, and I have even heard of supermarkets that are open 24/7.  When I moved to Belgium, shops here still shut on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays - it takes a bit of getting used to.

The other thing that I simply don't understand are 'Bank Holidays'.  All public holidays, apart from the odd exception, fall on a Monday - even if that isn't the day of the holiday - and invariably get called a 'Bank Holiday'.  I had to look up the reason for this as it's a bit of a bugger when you've been spoilt in a country which, should a holiday fall on a Thursday, for example, bridges the gap to the weekend by taking the Friday off too.  This only happens if you have an employer who enjoys this relaxed attitude to the workplace, ie: most employers in Belgium - or at least, in the offices where I worked.

But simplifying my life is good, however confusing.  Now, I'd better go shopping.

11 comments:

Z said...

The odd thing is that people shop as if catering for a siege on Bank Holiday weekends, even though shops will still be open anyway.

You do know that's it, don't you? We don't get Bank Holidays in the summer, and autumn starts the last weekend in August.

Zoe said...

No Bank Holidays in the summer? But it hasn't even started yet - or perhaps it's gone.....:(

Richard said...

Belgium has no industrial base to speak of, has it, apart from the one created on the back of the European parliament, so a lot of those extended bank holidays the nation enjoyed were at the expense of the European tax-payer. I hope the British tax-payer understands I'm doing my bit to try and recoup some of these losses.

Anonymous said...

Belgium does not have 24-hour supermarkets?!?

I did not realize you lived in a third-world country. My condolences. Think of me the next time you make a 3 a.m. run for snacks, toilet rolls, cheap plonk, or whatever else your sleep-deprived mind craves at that hour.

Anonymous, too

a said...

They won't take euros though…

Richard said...

a - actually, some of them do.

Sharon J said...

I've never really got to grips with all those holidays being on a Monday, either. In Norway they're taken on the day they fall, too.

I'm confused as to why the lack of an industrial base would mean those holidays are at the expense of the European tax-payer. Please elaborate.

johng said...

Now you can buy wine 24/7!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Shucks, who goes to the supermarket at 3 a.m.?

Anonymous said...

GG: Sometimes I do! They're far less crowded, and you won't get followed around by anyone with a screaming baby or tantrum-throwing two-year-old. With the exception of the odd hour, it can be a very civilized experience.

Anon, too

Guyana-Gyal said...

Anon, too, you're lucky. Gosh, if I wake up at that hour, I'm grouchy and uncivilised all day, next day from lack of sleep.

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