German court rules that robots can take Sundays off for religious reasons
· Apr 14, 2024 ·

It's an odd thing in America to even contemplate not having a 24/7 retailer open for our 3 AM Sunday night craving, but in Germany, most services are still closed down for Sonntagsruhe or Sunday Sabbath.

The Protestants, Catholics, and workers' unions have all agreed and lobbied together to ensure the day of rest remains in the nation's constitution.

However, just like the Americans, sometimes on Sundays the German people want a snack. And since every problem is just a path of a business to solve, Germany's supermarket chain Tegut created fully automated kiosks for customers to shop in, without a single human employee.

The kiosks are called Teos and they look like barrels with grass roofs. They carry over 1,000 essential products like milk and potato chips.

Once they've made their selection, a robot cashier will help them check out, even on Sunday.

However, Germany's service sector union Verdi was worried that competitors would lose out as they had to close their stores on the day of rest, and soon business lobbies might push for legal changes, eventually pushing workers into stores on Sundays.

People aren't working on Sundays, it's just the robots!

The defense argued that they weren't hurting anyone, and they weren't breaking any laws.

The court disagreed.

As the three judges made clear in their ruling, Germany's work-free Sundays are about more than just work. They pointed to the Christian origin of the principle which was first decreed more than 1,700 years ago by Roman emperor Constantine the Great.

So it's a Christian thing, even though Germans really are not going to church on Sundays.

For Tegut, losing Sunday‘s business in their Teo stores means a drop of 25%-30% of their sales.

But for the competitors who were losing ALL Sunday sales to the robot-run business, I'd call this catching a break.

The robots were no doubt very excited to be treated like human Germans: take the day off, skip church, and unplug.

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