If You Can’t Stand The Heat…

temperatures-in-spainNo, this isn’t a post about the heat in Spain, especially given that I’m writing it in the middle of December, but actually about temperatures in stores and restaurants in Spain.

Not so many years ago, visiting a big store or shopping centre in Spain in the summer would mean literally freezing to death as the air conditioning would be on at such a low temperature. The opposite would happen in the winter, where temperatures would be so high you not only wanted to take your coat off but also put on shorts and a t-shirt!

These extremes of course meant high expenditure for companies and even the Spanish Government got involved with the then Minister Miguel Sebastián calling for an end to tie-wearing in offices in order to save energy (he actually got into trouble in the Congress for turning up tie-less!). Indeed in 2009 a Royal Decree was approved stating that the maximum and minimum temperature for offices, bars, etc. would be 21ºC when using heating and 26ºC when using air conditioning.

Politics aside, it makes sense for temperatures to be less extreme, but this year I’ve noticed that things seem to have got out of hand. This summer temperatures of over 28ºC were showing at the local Carrefour (they have a thermometer and humidity display) which can get very uncomfortable when shopping. On the other hand we went out for a meal to a restaurant a couple of weeks ago and everyone sat at the bar had their coats on. As we sat at a table of course we took our coats off, but before the end of the meal we had them on our shoulders it was so cold. When the waiter asked us whether we wanted dessert, we said no as it was too cold. Only then he went to look at the thermostat (wasn’t the fact that everyone had their coats on enough of a clue?).

So, if it makes ecological sense why am I complaining? In my opinion this is not a case of corporate social responsibility, but rather a strategic decision to help the company balance sheet and once again the final consumer is feeling the pain (in this case with blue fingers and toes!).

What do you think?  -Have you noticed this happening in stores and restaurants where you live in Spain?