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According to the Ladenschlussgesetz, gas stations in Germany are allowed to be opened during the night and Sundays, but are only allowed to sell gas, car things (like oil) that are needed for people to travel onwards and

Reisebedarf

(my attempt at a translation: travel necessities)

Now, I have been at a gas station on Sundays and at night many times and it did not appear like they change what they sell for those times. Meaning they still sell, for example, alcohol, frozen pizzas, flowers, shaving gel, etc.

Is "Reisebedarf" defined anywhere?

  • Those all seem like travel necessities to me. – Dale M Mar 2 '16 at 10:13
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    @DaleM There's also postcards, magazines, DVDs, etc. But that's not really my point - my main point is that what they sell doesn't change at night. If everything can be constructed as Reisebedarf, what's stopping anyone from just building a supermarket with a gas station in the front and declaring everything Reisebedarf? Since nobody does that, I would think it must have limits somewhere and they are defined somewhere. – YviDe Mar 2 '16 at 10:26
  • I suppose "travel necessities" also doesn't capture all of the meanings of "Reisebedarf". It really seems to be meant as being necessary for the person traveling onward - for example, it at least used to be the case that gas stations actually weren't supposed to sell these things to you if you weren't a traveler and came in by foot - they should have just refused you service in those circumstances. But that's not really what my question is about anyway. – YviDe Mar 2 '16 at 10:34
  • @YviDe because it's not allowed to travel by foot? Defining Reisebedarf requires defining both Bedarf and Reise. – phoog Mar 2 '16 at 13:50
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    Note that your question (“What counts as Reisebedarf? Is Reisebedarf defined anywhere?”), which was answered correctly by unor, may not be what you actually want to know (“What can be sold at gas stations at night/on Sundays?”). The Gesetz über den Ladenschluß is no longer in effect in most states of Germany, the exception being Bavaria; the other states have their own regulation on this matter, some of them much less restrictive. – chirlu Mar 2 '16 at 18:32
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§ 2 (2) of the Gesetz über den Ladenschluß defines Reisebedarf:

Reisebedarf im Sinne dieses Gesetzes sind Zeitungen, Zeitschriften, Straßenkarten, Stadtpläne, Reiselektüre, Schreibmaterialien, Tabakwaren, Schnittblumen, Reisetoilettenartikel, Filme, Tonträger, Bedarf für Reiseapotheken, Reiseandenken und Spielzeug geringeren Wertes, Lebens- und Genussmittel in kleineren Mengen sowie ausländische Geldsorten.

Shaving gels are "Reisetoilettenartikel", alcohol and frozen pizzas are "Lebens- und Genussmittel" (but only allowed in ‎small quantities), and flowers are "Schnittblumen".

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    Whatever possessed the legislature to identify cut flowers as a travel necessity? – phoog Mar 2 '16 at 13:52
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    @phoog don't forget the movies (Filme) ;-) – YviDe Mar 2 '16 at 13:54
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    @phoog: I assume it’s similar to “Reiseandenken und Spielzeug geringeren Wertes” (souvenirs and toys of relatively low value) – people buy flowers shortly before reaching their destination, as a gift for their hosts or (when coming home) for their SO. Of course, whether it is necessary – chirlu Mar 2 '16 at 18:12
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    Oh, @YviDe, a bit late but still: Filme here didn’t mean ‘movies’, but ‘photographic films’. In ancient times, before digital cameras became widespread, you needed this stuff to take pictures; which has always been a favourite pastime of tourists (who in turn are travellers). – chirlu Mar 20 '16 at 12:34
  • @chirlu well, I am not that young ;-) But I do see a lot of DVDs on gas stations... – YviDe Mar 20 '16 at 13:45

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