Shops here in the French Alps keep strange hours. For example, the supermarket in La Clusaz is closed from 12.30pm to 4.30pm, and rumour has it that the reason for this is so that tourists have to buy their lunch from the bakeries and restaurants and thus spend more money in town. In fact, most of La Clusaz closes for the inter-season months of May, October and November. And as I’ve written about in the past, convenience stores are more like inconvenience stores, while “fermeture exceptionelle” (unexpected closure) is a sign well used here in France, and one I’ve struck when attempting to go to a Chinese restaurant in Annecy, the post office in Bonneville and of course, the government office in Annecy for car registration. When I made it to the post office in St Jean de Sixt before it closed for the weekend at midday on a Saturday, I was then told that my item wouldn’t leave until Monday because nobody picks up the mail on the weekends. Shop keepers apparently have a comfortable life and they don’t need to open as often as I’d like them to.
So why am I still surprised to see this sign? Pictured here is a sign for a shop in Annecy called “Espace Déco” (a home decorations shop). The sign then reads:
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 12.30pm – 2.00pm
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: by appointment or call (number blurred out by me)
So, that’s a total of four and a half hours per week for customers to just happen to walk past while the shop is open. Does anyone ever really bother to call a number just to touch an item for sale and discover its price? I’d feel kind of obliged to buy it if I hauled the shopkeeper out of bed or wherever just so I could browse a few serving trays. How are these shops still in business? The only reason I can think of is that people must think it’s more exclusive if the shop stays closed most of the time and then they make the effort to come back. I think I’ve found the most exclusive shop in the Alps.