Shopkeepers in Madrid are certainly moving with the times. As a result of falling sales and a desire to be more competitive they have voted to open on 26 Sundays and public holidays a year. The move forward has been welcomed by the Madrid Tourist Board. Meanwhile, in the Balearics shops are only allowed to open on five Sundays and public holidays a year despite the fact that the islands receive far more tourists than the Spanish capital. This is part of Balearic government legislation which has met with the full support of the small shopkeepers associations. Other shop owners have been straight-jacketed by the local authorities. How long will it take for the government and some shopkeepers to see the light and decide the only way to survive will be to open all hours? If everyone worked from 9.30a.m. to 1.30p.m. and then from 4p.m. to 7.30p.m. there wouldn't be a problem. But these days a growing number of people are working longer hours and even on the weekends which means that they are unable to do their shopping unless they want to take time off work to do so. For a large number of people in the Balearics Saturday afternoons and Sundays are their only free days and therefore it is vital that shops are open. If the stores are open then there is greater activity on the high street and therefore cafes and restaurants also benefit. Come on Balearic government and Palma shopkeepers, copy your counterparts in Madrid. It is not a major change, but it will certainly be a change for the better.