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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Frugal in France: Choc!

At the grocery store, various items are emblazoned PRIX CHOC! You don't need a dictionary to translate: shockingly low price. Needless to say, Mr FS and I have been on the giving and receiving end of various culture shocks. Some are trivial: French people are shocked to know that one cannot buy fromage blanc in the USA.

I thought that health care costs and issues would be the biggest shock to the French. And truly, they are shocked by unequal access to healthcare. But they are most shocked by the vacation issue. When we told an assembled table of 11 people of all ages that the 5 week vacation was unknown in the USA, all jaws dropped (except those of the two children).

Isn't it a law, one finally said. The word for law is droit, which also means right, which is how I translated it to myself.

Do you think the USA could ever institute such a thing? Do you think it would be great?


Joan said...

The thing I find most shocking about the "Prix Choc" is that oftentimes the per unit price (kilo/liter) can be higher than the regular price. Buyer beware.

The first year I worked in France and was "given" five weeks off, I looked at my boss and asked "but what am I going to DO with myself?"-- believe me, I quickly acclimatized. It was a shock to move back to the States where I had to be satisfied with a paltry week or two.

Shelley said...

I had six weeks a year paid vacation here in Britain. You do get acclimatized quite quickly! It does mean that you don't get much done in August, mind. Whether you are on holiday or not, a load of other folks are away and so any collaborative work (hardly any kind over here, seemingly) just stalls. Good time to get caught up with filing and the office gossip...

Duchesse said...

Before vacations, why cannot the US give women a year's paid maternity leave? Interesting to me is that so few Americans take their full vacation allotment, see:

The demise of unions will keep vacation time in the US low.

Funny about Money said...

Lord. I can't even remember what a vacation is!

I had about five or six weeks of vacation time coming when I was laid off and did collect the cash. But there was no time for vacating. Ever.