large chains still closing for lunch!

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08 Nov 2012 12:49 AM by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 412 posts Send private message

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 One would have thought that closing for lunch would be a thing of the past with the current situation. I'm moving house and I am also working, so I've been looking for some new furniture, however, unless it is at the weekend the only time I really have available to browse a little is on my lunch break. Today I thought I would escape and take a look at a furniture store, MerkaMueble, one of the biggest if not the biggest chain of furniture stores in the country, only to find out that when I got there it was closed, doors locked, lights out, from 13:30 through to 16:30. Ok we all know that Spain has a tradition for this and smaller shops in neighbourhoods tend to shut down for lunch, because it is normally the actual owners that run the business and, they need to eat too so, that,  you can sort of understand. But Merkamueble has dozens of employees and I swear, that I would never have imagined that it would be closed at mid day and more so now. The only ones who can really buy furniture are the retired folk or the people who are working, and if they are working all day, from 1 to 4 would be an ideal time to try and attract these people to their stores.it's not just Merkamueble, businesses still haven't caught onto the fact that if they close, they can't sell. Why close? It's a thing of the past. It is something that I will never get used to, nor understand. That shop lost a fair bit of money today as I went and bought new bedroom furniture for my daughter some where else. The point is, now it should be easier than ever to get into a shop and not have to wait until they come back from their 3 hour lunch break!!



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08 Nov 2012 8:41 AM by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

Absolutely Mac.  I experienced something similar in France once as well.  I was looking in an estate agents window and loved the look of a chateau.  Now, I wasn't 100% serious as I would have had to cash in everything to buy it, but I pushed the door and went to go in and the estate agent/assistant/whatever, said: 'No, we're closed today.'  All he had to do was hand me the details; if I were the owner of that chateau and knew about that, I'd be furious.  I've heard Spaniards say: 'you can't do business in this country,' and I've heard French people say the same and this was before the recession.  They've got to change their mindset, but I recently read a bit about the history of Spain, and it suggested that there is a deeply-embedded anti-business strain running through the culture of the country that is at least five centuries old, so it won't be easy to change.



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08 Nov 2012 8:56 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5240 posts Send private message

 

Whilst it can be annoying that stores close for the 'siesta hours' it is also sometimes very convenient when they are still open at 8 pm
 I chose to live here.    I don't see any reason why Spain should change to accommodate me.
 
As some say, If I don't like it here I know what I can do'





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08 Nov 2012 9:18 AM by tamaraessex Star rating in Colmenar, Malaga. 508 posts Send private message

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John has taken the words right out of my mouth. I love the convenience of having a second bite at shopping in the early evening, especially as the evening meal is later here.

Yes OK it's a bit of a surprise that the large chains close, but they don't ALL close. I have the choice of shopping locally after the siesta, or if l'm desperate for a duvet cover or a ladder during the afternoon, l can drive to the big shopping centre in Velez-Málaga (near Torre del Mar, east of Málaga) where everything stays open, and it's a stunningly beautiful 40min drive.

As John says, it was my choice to live in Spain and accept their general pattern of opening hours, and also my choice to live 40 mins away from a big shopping centre.

By the way, l haven't tried it, but l'm pretty sure the shopping centre is closed on Sundays. For 7-day shopping, choose another country!

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08 Nov 2012 9:46 AM by Karensun Star rating in Orihuela Costa. 1474 posts Send private message

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I sooooo agree with John and tTamara!!

I love the fact that some shops close and I love the fact that they are often closed on Sundays.

Sometimes I wonder how our Mums managed with 9 to 6 opening, no Sunday opening and half day Thursday AND a full time job..........but they did with apparent ease.

 



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08 Nov 2012 9:48 AM by Roly2 Star rating in Almeria. 646 posts Send private message

 Yes agree.   I think the OP is forgetting that in the UK High Street shops close at 5.30 - so the length of the day and selling time is no different.  It is the out of town shopping centres that stay open all hours.  I am all for keeping the siesta, and have never found it inconvenient that local (even large) stores close in the afternoon.   Having said that, I am not averse to calling in at Dos Mares which is open 365 days a year, with most shops operating an extended day.     But generally speaking I like to keep it Spanish.





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08 Nov 2012 10:22 AM by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

I do wonder how the different Spanish hours affect their ability to conduct international business  - I'm not talking about retail here, but maybe legal or insurance companies and so on.  Not having been involved in that kind of business, I don't know how this affects the Spanish economy.  Maybe someone else knows more?



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08 Nov 2012 10:29 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5240 posts Send private message

 

Eggcup   I do wonder how the different Spanish hours affect their ability to conduct international business
 
That would seem to blindingly obvious, 
 
Businesses  everywhere work the hours which they need to work in order to carry out their business.  If they don't they go broke, Simple.
 
 Do you really think Spain is any different from the rest of the world !.





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08 Nov 2012 10:35 AM by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

What I'm referring to is if someone from another country wants to speak to someone in Spain during their normal UK, French, German etc. hours, e.g. 2pm, 3pm or 4pm perhaps, and can't get hold of them.  Do they have to see Spain as a country where people can only be contacted before 2pm?  No need for the inflammatory tone.



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08 Nov 2012 10:42 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5240 posts Send private message

That would seem to blindingly obvious, 
 
Businesses  everywhere work the hours which they need to work in order to carry out their business.  If they don't they go broke, Simple.
 
 Do you really think Spain is any different from the rest of the world !.
 
If I need to do business with a UK company then I know if they will be available during the hours I want to contact them.    If they are not then we would need to come to a business agreement on that.   Its the same with any country :::::::::





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08 Nov 2012 1:34 PM by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

Let's just say the Spanish economy isn't thriving.



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08 Nov 2012 1:55 PM by elaineG Star rating in Spain . 409 posts Send private message

Let's just say the Spanish economy isn't thriving.

 

As johnzx would probably say, that is blindingly obvious too !!!!





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08 Nov 2012 1:56 PM by Roly2 Star rating in Almeria. 646 posts Send private message

 Well,  most business now actually relies on electronic transfer, communication etc etc.    Irwin Mitchel have a big presence in Spain and they seem to be able to communicate across multiple continents and time zones.   I think the focus on 'opening hours' is just a tad obsolete these days.     The cause of the current economic crisis in Spain is not down to them taking a siesta - oh that it were that simple!!!





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08 Nov 2012 4:28 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2253 posts Send private message

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 It can be a bit annoying to turn up at somewhere like a big furniture shop and find you have to wait 3 hours before it opens again.  However, shopping centres, big supermarkets etc all open throughout the day.  Our Spanish builder kept complaining about  "the Spanish" all the time as he had to wait before he could pick up supplies and so on so it's not just us.

The shops in Cyprus used to close for their version of a siesta but only in the really hot summer months (from about middle of June to middle of September IIRC).  Still, it's quite nice having a longish lunch waiting for some of the shops to open and also being able to go out in the evenings and find the shops still open.  I also remember that the last Spanish PM wanted the businesses to stop the siesta but it would appear to be too ingrained in the national psyche.

But, if the Spanish (and Italians) can languish over a 3 hour lunch break, how come they drive like they have to be on the other side of town in 5 minutes once it's over?

 





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08 Nov 2012 6:05 PM by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 412 posts Send private message

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 Well I think some of you are missing the point here, this is not an attack on the Spanish "Culture", nor am I forgetting the UK high street closing hours. The shop I referred to in my original post is a national chain in one of the country's largest shopping centres, infact it is made up of several shopping centres including one shoping mall, business centers, offices, Carrefour, Decathlon, Leroy Merlin, Car dealerships, three Mcdonalds and a very long etc, etc etc. It is precisely the place you would drive 40 km to and expect the shops to be open, it is enormous. I don't buy furniture very often so I wasn't familiar with the opening times, but when I got there I can assure you I was shocked that it was closed and it wasn't the only one and competitors were open.

The point is that if others can do it, and do do it, why don't they all. I am not referring to small businesses who have few employees and therefore have more difficulty to rotate staff throught the working day. Yes, it is a long day from 10 - 10 but it is becoming the standard for large businesses. It is perfectly possible to organise the staff throughout the day to cover those hours without incurring in extra costs especially when your business depends on people walking through the door. I've been living here for over 16 years full on so I know the Spanish culture very well, and I am about as pro Spanish as they come. The "siesta" is dead and a thing of the past and all countries need to move on and progress, just as the UK did when it allowed Sunday shopping. I don't know anyone who takes a siesta nowadays, just saying it would be embarrassing now for the professional Spanish and if you went into a job interview saying you needed your three hour lunchbreak so you can go and have a siesta, they'd laugh at you and kick you out. 

I ask myself the question, if businesses all over the country, I mean Spanish businesses that are not open to the general public, manage to do it, surely businesses that need the general public should all do it, whether it is Spain or any other country, this isn't a criticism of the Spanish, it's an observation that even many Spanish complain about. The three hour break serves no purpose at all but to disrupt the day, heat is not an issue now nor is having a kip because of it. 

It may be engrained in the elderly to a certain extent but even then my father in law, may he rest in peace, worked a 12 hour day to the age of 65 and had no car, so he and other collegues had to sit around in the factory for three hours unitl his shift started again at 5pm. Sure factories are more efficient now, but it's just common sense isn't it? Hiding behind old culture isn't an excuse, especially with the economic climate we are in. Businesses need to be competitive. Nobody enjoys waiting for a shop to open, one might enjoy the coffee or the sandwich they are having while they wait, but if you get tired you will eventually walk away. Sure you will eventually spend your money somewhere else so the economy won't be affected but certain businesses may be,  in my case who got the money? One that was open.

 

 



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08 Nov 2012 7:26 PM by maddiemack Star rating in Grantham, Lincolnshi.... 194 posts Send private message

Here, in Grantham, Aldi has just started opening until 9pm instead of 8pm.  Why? Because, in these difficult ecconomic times they realise that they must make their store available to shoppers for longer hours to compete with the three large supermarkets we have here.  As the Manager said, 'We have to be available to suit our clients because without them we have no business'.  With so many stores selling the same type of products these days, there is not the loyalty to any given store that there once was.  I don't know whether the same applies in Spain....but I'm guessing from mac75's comment that it could be? 

And, yes, eggcup, you make a good point.  Our swedish friend in Spain got so fed up of spending more hours in the office than his (Spanish) colleagues catching up with business opportunities in other European countries that he gave up and went back to Sweden!  Yep.....he took the advice....if you don't like the Spanish hours, go home!  lol



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08 Nov 2012 11:44 PM by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 412 posts Send private message

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 maddiemack, 

'We have to be available to suit our clients because without them we have no business' that is exactly my point. It is not a cultural issue, times move on and businesses have to adapt.



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09 Nov 2012 12:25 AM by TamaraEssex Star rating in Colmenar, Malaga. 508 posts Send private message

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Fair points Mac, and i accept that in a shopping centre where the other stores remain open, it was reasonable of you to expect the furniture shop to be open.  I'd be miffed if i drove all the way down to Velez-Malaga and Eroski or Worten were shut when I got there :-)



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09 Nov 2012 2:59 PM by camposol Star rating in Camposol. 1406 posts Send private message

I see there is a move to stop the split day for schools-that can only be a good thing for parents who at present have to collect their children and take them back again. With air conditioning intolerable heat is not an issue now.. Also, surely there is more family time and activities can be better planned. As for shops, try telling those who embark from giant cruise liners inorder to spend loads of dosh in Cartagena that a siesta is a good thing! How many million euros have been lost to these shops? Why shouldn't Spain move with the times, especially considering the financial position it's in!





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10 Nov 2012 8:34 AM by Steven Keogh Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

 Stop complaining all the time. i think people who complain all the time would do exactly the same in the UK. Get use to the spanish culture or go back home.





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