how to survive in Germany, Deutschland without cultural barriers, best and worst of Germany

TERRIBLE: working hours of shops and cafes in Germany

I have heard there are countries with no working hours displayed on the doors. You have to know them.

Country I am from there are working hours on the doors of shops. Bars and cafes also have hours on the doors. But they work until the last client is out, even if it means 5 a.m. and even if it is 7 hours later than official working hours. With the shops it is like this, you just need to sneak in 1 min before the closing time, like at 20:59 and then you are OK to do all you need. The staff will wait till you are done with shopping process. Nobody will dare to make a customer go out before he is done. If it happens, it is considered rude without end.

In Germany there are hours on the doors, too. But the approach to hours is different.

First of all, many small shops have a long, like two three hour lunch break, something like unofficial German siesta. If you are not used to it, like me now, it is quite uncomfortable. In case you go shopping between 1 and 3 p.m. But I work so I am saved unless some sudden errands are needed.

Long lunch hours do not apply to bigger shops or shopping centers. Huge shopping centers or FMCG centers are normally open to 22:00 Monday to Saturday. But be careful when planning, only huge ones, so make sure before you plan. Cause you might easily be left as if you bitten a fly, as we say in a small Nothern country.

There is another difference I hate here. First, on a working day shops don’t work late, normally to 7 p.m. But BUT.

Around 6:30 they start to clean and prepare to close. Drag the stands from the outside inside, close the doors if they were kept open on a warm day and start vacuuming the floor.

Official openning hours on the doors are for the customers, or are at least supposed to be so. But they are actually for the staff. And the staff in Germany will ignore the customers or even make the customers not to come because the last hour or half an hour they will be busy of making sure THEY leave the shop at the indicated hour.

So if you are working you are left with only one hour shopping opportunity. If you have to drive to shopping area, then even less, maybe only 30 minutes, depending if you are far and if you are luckz enough to park fast.

I know you can shop online 24/7 but I am personally from time to time enjoying the physical process of walking in, seeing and even touching things.

In cafes they even put the chairs on tables with their legs up! So it is like officially open but in fact it is more like closed. They will do everything that you do not walk in.

One time I asked a woman to unlock the bubble tea shop and make bubble tea for us. It was 7:38 and the official working time was up to 8 p.m. Next time I came there she was gone at about 7:28 to make sure no one makes her open the door again.

Bäckerei in Willich that is open to 14:00 but refused to serve at 13:20 on Saturday (c) BestAndWorstOfGermany. You can use this picture and / or text with an active link to

Bäckerei in Willich that is open to 14:00 but refused to serve at 13:20 on Saturday (c) BestAndWorstOfGermany. You can use this picture and / or text with an active link to

Not to mention on Sundays everything is closed. According to the law.

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2013 by in Business, Going out, Survival tips and tagged , , , , .
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