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Italian customs are hard to change.

market

marketPrime Minister Monti passed an unpressedented law that allows shopkeepers to stay open 24/7 including holidays.   Now I know that doesn’t sound mind-boggling to a country that has a Wal-Mart in every city where one can by a can of kidney beans or a Taylor Swift CD at 3am.  But to the average Italian, particularly those in the south, what we consider convenience is viewed as an intrusion.

Shopkeepers are not chained to their stores in Italy, nor do they seem to want to be.  The chance to serve a few extra clients by being available later or on holidays is not worth the sacrifice of family and life outside of work.  For the moment, most shoppers are sticking to the traditional hours.  The Day of Epiphany showed that old habits are going to be hard (if not impossible) to break as stores remained closed outside of a few cafes and restaurants.  Will Monti’s attempt to stimulate growth in Italy’s struggling economy be able to break age-old traditions and the professional guilds?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I know siesta is an Italian tradition, but it has outlived it usefulness. It might have been a good idea when people lived above their businesses and could duck upstairs for lunch and a snooze, but many people now have to travel a distance to work, have to leave home early to get to work, hang around for hours in the middle of the day and get home quite late at night. I just can’t be an efficient use of a day. For tourists it is an incredible nuisance to arrive in a town in the middle of the day only to find most things closed. Not everyone wants a 3 hour lunch. Italy must lose so much money from lost tourist sales.

    January 10, 2012

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