Civil project of the bill restricting trade on Sunday includes a proposal to extend a ban on e-shops. This idea is dangerous and I´m hoping it will not pass.
Polish Sejm’s Speaker Marek Kuchciński received the project of civic bill restricting trade on Sundays. The project was supported by more than half a million people, making it more than clear that for those many people who need to work on Sundays it will present a problem. I must admit that I was not surprised. I can not assess how valid the arguments of the opposing side are, which argue that by proposing to restrict trade on Sundays many people as a consequence will lose their jobs. It is certainly a possibility that it could happen. It is also possible that the stores will be open longer on other days of the week and as a result the demand for workers will remain the same or slightly lower. I can easily understand people who would like to have at least one day off a week. Me and the vast majority of my friends have two days off and if I deciding to work on a Saturday or Sunday is strictly my personal decision. It is comfort which trade workers lack the privilege of, for us, having the weekend gives us the luxury of being able to go shopping on a Sunday, but of course this a question of comfort and is clearly not a necessity. But e-commerce is quite different topic.
Let’s look at the project:
- Whenever the Act mentions: 1) retail outlet – this should be understood as all the facilities where sales is lead in the field of wholesale and retail, including sales of goods and goods purchased for resale in the form of shops, stands, stalls, warehouses, coal depots, building materials warehouses, department stores, mail order houses, offices and online stores
- Trade on Sundays is prohibited
2. Perform other tasks connected to sales on Sundays in retail outlets and entities providing services for trade is prohibited
- Employment in Sundays includes trade and performing of other activities in sales of 24 consecutive hours, starting from 6:00 am on Sunday until 6:00 am the next day
These records indicate that the store should be closed not only on Sunday from 6:00 a.m. but Monday night until 6:00 a.m.
Technically, everything is possible. You can close e-shop completely (which is absurd), you can reduce the possibility of ordering (also absurd), and you can limit the ability to pay (slightly less absurd). Because the bill is not overly accurate (at the end it’s just a project and not act in the final shape), and people here are clever, we can expect that in Polish online stores there already exists (probably for some time now) councils to tell you how not to lose.
I understand that the project was created by people without any knowledge of how the internet and e-commerce in particular works, and herein lies the main issue. Someone probably thought about employees packing parcels on Sundays that are to be delivered to customers the next day. The problem is that when the ban on sales in stationary stores actually limits the room for maneuver, in the case of the Internet, doesn´t change anything. I might add, that this is from the point of view of the customer. Because from the point of view of the owner of the store is consistently changing.
A customer who will not be able to do shopping in one online store, will go to another. It will not even cost a lot, simply a few clicks. If the Polish stores or shops with headquarters in the territory of the Republic of Poland will not be able to serve clients on Sundays, than the other shops from other countries, including the Amazon or Aliexpress (which have already announced to fight for the Polish market next year) will do the jobs. If the logistics centers of Amazon (logistics centers are also mentioned in the Act, and in my opinion this is bigger problem) will not be able to work on a Sundays, it is possible that soon after the entry into force of this law, logistics centers of Amazon will give their farewells to Poland. I´m afraid that no one in Amazon will be guided by these sentiments.
There is of course the probability that the Polish stores will change headquarters for example, and move (even virtually) to Czech Republic – similar ideas were considered on the occasion of proposals for new taxes for larger stores, which were planned to extended to online shops. In this particular case the state will end up being the biggest loser, and thus indirectly all Poles.
I hope that the government does not accept the bill in this form, especially in the part relating to online commerce. I have no doubt that the loss could be much greater than the potential benefits. Both for the people, business and the state.