metroblogging vienna flickr photo from scottpartee

Can you spot what is wrong with this picture?

Try really hard to come up with an idea before you read the answer.

The shock of the photograph is that, until recently, I’ve not believed that a food shop other than the special ‘train station’ variety could be open for extended hours here in Vienna.

The above photograph was taken sometime around 7 PM, and the store stands open and ready to sell the customer a fine variety of food products.

When I first discovered this special “milk” store near my house, I tried to keep it a secret. I thought that perhaps the woman who owned it – a kindly one at that – was breaking some laws to service the people of the neighbourhood.

I have no official ruling on this, but from what I can discern, this is a legitimate business practice. Certain stores meeting certain conditions are allowed to maintain almost unlimited opening hours. This particular store is open from 4.30 – 20.00!

I asked her why it is that she can stay open, and she replied “because when the other stores are closed, everyone comes to see me!” In further discussion with my neighbours and other Wieners/Wienerinen, the laws governing this type of opening hour scheme seem to revolve around allowing small, independent businesses (with no employees) to compete with Billa and the other chains by offering a differentiated service. Plus, the idea that one must simply have convenient access to the basics of life is growing in popularity as families and individuals become increasingly busy.

Typically, I am told, these types of stores are operated by immigrants. This particular store, however, is operated by a very nice elder native Austrian citizen. She works from before dawn until long after dark to make sure that, for example, I can get some chocolate for a late evening batch of pecan chocolate chunk cookies or some milk on a Sunday. And she does it with enthusiasm and a smile.

11 Comments so far

  1. TH (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

    Now you just need to tell us where this treasure is.

    Pretty please?

  2. PinkOrange (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:22 pm

    Yes, please tell us! A Milk-Store… this is cult!

  3. scotty (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    Lerchenfelderstrasse @ Myrthengasse, 1070 Wien.

    It’s tiny, but it’s almost always open.

    Sundays, too, although I think with shorter hours.

  4. scotty (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:49 pm

    OH, wait! CORRECTION:

    It’s on Neustiftgasse @ Myrthengasse, which is a 48A stop.

  5. johan (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

    Vienna (and Austria?) is so strange when it comes to opening hours. A holiday once a week and opening times barely spanning half days. In Sweden, where I come from, all food stores are normally open 8-21. Here I’m lucky if I can shop for groceries when I finish school at 5.

  6. matthias (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 9:08 pm

    Is there a clock anywhere on the picture? How should a reader be able to tell what’s wrong with the picture? I don’t really get it.

  7. mimie (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 11:07 pm

    Well, I’m from Sweden too and actually getting used to the opening hours here. (and there actually are several shops like this milkshop, you just have to know them :) Have to add that in Sweden the people who work in the stores get more salery the late hours, which isn’t really the case here. So the later hours suck for the poor staff.

  8. georg cracked (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 7:29 am

    I thought you meant the UFO on the upper left hand corner…

  9. scott (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 2:16 pm

    Sorry, Matthias. I hope I didn’t wreck your day because you spent hours trying to spot something wrong with the photograph. 2 tears. Bucket.

  10. Nathaniel (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 8:15 pm

    I guessed it by looking at the picture (from someone who spent some pivotal years growing up there and hopes to return next year). Though I was hesitating. I thought, “Hmm, perhaps it’s getting dark by 4pm already in Vienna”

  11. mark quest (unregistered) on December 8th, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

    this shop was also mentioned at:

    kind regards, Mark

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