I read with great interest "Customer Is Last in Germany" (April 23), not with an interest in regard to lack of service but, rather, with an eye for what effect the closing statutes had on family life in Germany. Although the Germans cannot chase the mighty mark (or sale) on Sundays, it must have some positive effect on family life. It wasn't too long ago that we too had no malls and most stores were closed on Sundays.
I remember Sunday mornings when most of my friends and their families got dressed in their "Sunday best" and went to church in the morning. I remember Sundays as the day we piled into the car, and traveled down Sepulveda Pass to visit my grandparents. We didn't need a birthday, wedding or anniversary party to have a get-together, Sundays provided the time to visit. It was truly a day to relax.
How often do we think, wouldn't it be nice if I had just one day to sit back and do nothing? A day that there weren't any sales that drive us into a frenzy to be the first in line at the cash register. There must be something said about the virtue of having a day off.
MIRIAM J. LEBENTAL
* Hurrah for the Germans!
Coming from a country with similar shopping hours, Spain, and living in the United States, with shops open 24 hours a day, I'd say I'd stick to the German system.
Shopping has become a major source of entertainment and distraction for Americans. It's sad; instead of mingling with people they spend too much time shopping. I miss Sundays, all stores closed, the streets for the people to stroll.
The real buying demand is the same with longer or shorter hours for shops; of course there is the artificial demand for the things we don't really need. People buy way too much in this country.
And also, I would not want the German workers to have the low service salaries, benefits and amazingly short vacations (that goes for all sectors) that many American service workers have.
ELENA DE LA CRUZ
* I would like to add a few observations: To a German it is not "curious" that bakeries are open on Sundays due to the custom of having coffee and cake in the after- noon.
As far as store hours are concerned, former East Germany was more accommodating, and at least a number of grocery stores had longer hours (until 10 p.m.), which was meant to make shopping easier for women who worked outside the home. The measure was obviously still based on the assumption that shopping was "women's work" but at least it might make that task easier technically (the problem there was that the stores were often empty).
Department of Women's Studies
San Diego State